ANST - cochineal
nweders at mail.utexas.edu
Wed Jul 1 12:29:38 PDT 1998
Dropping by because I heard my name mentioned....
Cochineal is easily found in Texas and Oklahoma on Prickly Pear (Opuntia).
You need to look for cactus that has fuzzy white cottony looking patches on
them. those are the bugs. The whote cottony stuff is a protective
covering they use. Get something large and thin (so you can scrape them
off without touching the needles on the cactus)and scrape them off into a
zip log bag. If you squish any you see bright magenta red. When you've
gotten enough and you take them home you will need to roast them (alive) in
your oven. Put them in a pan and crank up the over to about 450. Not a
low oven or they will crawl around trying to find a way out. Watched a
friend do this with interesting results....
After they are crispy dead, feel free to use them any way you want. Kermes
which is a european relative was found on kermes oaks (don't know who was
named for whom off the top of my head. The are realtives and produce the
same lovely colors, the kermes not being as strong as the cochineal.
There's actually a great deal of material that makes excellent dyestuffs
here in Ansteorra. Kestral, Riegelief, Stella, Rhiannon and several other
people could probably help if enough people are interested.
Hope this all helps.
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