Carmine is made by pulverizing Cochineal in a stone mortar and putting it into water at nearly a boiling point. One ounce of Brazil wood, obtained from the druggist, and one ounce of powdered Cochineal are put into separate vessels with one quart of water each. The Cochineal is always put in the water in a linen bag.
To make half a pound of the Carmine used so extensively in Creole homes, simply pound the Cochineal in a mortar, add two gallons of water, and let it boil for an hour and a quarter. Then add about three drachms of powdered alum, two drachms of nitro-muriate of tin, made by taking two drachms of nitric acid, two drachms of muriatic acid and one drachm of bismuth, and dissolving under a gentle heat. Continue boiling the Cochineal ten minutes longer, and strain the mixture through a fine cloth, and let it stand for eighteen hours. Pour off the water, and add the solution of tin, in three pints of water, and let it stand for five days longer, changing the water every twenty-four hours. When free from any taste or smell the Carmine has been sufficiently washed, and is ready for use. Put into china saucers and dry in the stove.
It is exceedingly dangerous to purchase Carmine, and often it is nothing more than a red lead mixture, and poisonous. The Creoles always make their own preparations of Carmine.