Black is not a color you would associate with food. If you were offered a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, the dark brown color just feels right. Black pasta and black risotto are safe to eat, they might look intimidating, but they taste good. That black color is made possible with squid ink.
What is squid ink? Squid ink a black pigment that cuttlefish, octopus, and squid secrete to protect themselves from predators. The animals mentioned above are known as cephalopods and scientists believe that they do not just secrete squid ink only for defense from predators.
What does squid ink taste like? The taste of squid ink can best be described as brine. It has a fishy flavor to go with it and has stayed true to its aquatic origin. In simpler terms, squid ink is salty and tastes like fish.
Many people would be opposed to the idea of having squid. Questions about its safety of what it would do to their bodies would pop up. Let’s get into the nutritional value that squid ink can offer the human body.
Nutritional Benefits of Squid Ink
Squid ink can be associated with some nutritional benefits. Scientists are fascinated with squid ink and are carrying out different tests on it to see how valuable it is.
Test Tube studies and animal tests carried out on squid ink show that it has antimicrobial properties. This means that squid ink is capable of neutralizing harmful viruses and bacteria.
A test-tube study carried on squid ink showed that it was capable of neutralizing bacteria that cause dental plaques. Bacteria like Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans. Squid ink is also capable of neutralizing bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses.
Squid ink just might possess antioxidant properties. Research has managed to show that squid ink might possess antioxidant properties that can protect the cells in the body from harmful molecules known as free radicals. Squid ink’s antioxidant properties are gotten from polysaccharides (Polysaccharides are long chains of sugar molecules) that are present in it.
Squid ink has anti-cancer properties. These test-tube studies have revealed that squid ink has properties that can help reduce the spread of cancerous cells and reduce the size of tumors. The anticancer properties appear to have come from the antioxidants. Research has also shown that squid ink can help protect the body from the side effects of chemotherapy.
Squid ink can cater to simple ailments like taking care of stomach ulcers and keeping the blood pressure at normal levels. Squid ink can also boost immunity and keep everyday illnesses away.
Culinary Uses of Squid Ink
Squid ink is used in different dishes and recipes. It is used to obtain that blue-black color and add a savory flavor to whatever dish it is being paired with.
Asian cuisines are not new to using seafood in their recipes, they have been using squid ink in their dishes for quite a while. It has a mild flavor that increases its use in the kitchen. It would not dominate the taste of whatever it is being paired with.
The most common dishes that squid ink gets added to are pasta and rice. A lot of people do this for aesthetics and pay little attention to the flavor. It can also be used in baked goods like cakes and bread.
Squid ink should always be used in small quantities. For an average serving, a drop or two is enough to do the trick. Too much squid ink in your food would make the color too dark and the taste too overwhelming.
If you are feeling adventurous and would love to turn the minds of people that enjoy your cooking, a bit of squid ink to any conventional dish can have it looking alien and arouse curiosity.
Where Does Squid Ink Originate From? How Do You Procure It?
It is not exactly clear how anyone figured out that squid ink can be ingested. It must have been an accidental discovery for sure. It is mostly used in Asia and is just beginning to gain acclaim for culinary purposes in this part of the world.
Squid ink goes by many other names like cuttlefish ink, octopus ink, Tinta calamar, and Nero di seppia. The blue-black color of the ink is a result of melanin, the same kind we have in our body that brings out the coloration in our skin. Squid ink was one of the first writing ink, it is cheap and easy to obtain.
If you happen to live in a coastal area or know a very proficient fishmonger, you can ask them for squid ink or buy squids from them and extract the ink yourself. The process is quite easy and doesn’t require special expertise.
Does Squid Ink Make Your Poop Black?
Dark stools can be caused by various things, ingesting squid ink is one of those causes. The ingestion of squid ink can make your poop black. There is no cause for alarm though. Unlike some other causes of black poop, there is no internal hemorrhage, just the pigment in the squid ink showing up at the endpoint of your digestive process.
Facts You Don’t Know About Squid Ink
- There is a Spanish dish called chipirones en su tinta. Baby squids are fried and served in a broth made with their ink. It is quite interesting and fascinating.
- The stain from squid ink is very stubborn. It doesn’t wash from bowls easily and can ruin your clothes if you are not careful.
- People who have an allergic reaction to shellfish might react to squid ink, so take note of that when ingesting it.