Squid ink is a deep black substance extracted from the ink sack of an ocean squid, a sea dweller also known as calamari. The cuttlefish, which also has ink sacks, is another species living in the ocean that is similar and related to the squid. Both species use their ink as a means to flee predators. When threatened, squid will release this dark cloudy substance in hopes of intimidating the oncoming danger.
The ink from squid is used as a food coloring and flavoring, providing an rich ebony color and a salty flavor to pasta or rice. It can also be served as a condiment after being dried in an oven, crumbled into tiny particles, and seasoned with salt. Squid ink can be extracted from fresh squid. It can also be found pre-packaged and is available in some Italian food stores.