Annatto are the tiny seeds from the annatto tree, Bixa orellana. Some times referred to as achiote, these seeds are what is used to make red dye #1.
The annatto tree is native to tropical America. It produces small, elliptical shaped fruit that are covered in small reddish brown spines. They are called bixin. The inner lining of the fruits are white and waxy. The interior contains many small, hard red seeds.
Beside red dye #1, annatto seeds are also steeped in oil. This oil is used for many things, and has a very musky scent. Annatto seeds can be used whole, paste, or powder. It gives foods a rich, golden hue. It is often used for a body paint, since it also repels insects. Annatto is also used to give butter, margarine, and sometimes cheese their color.
Annatto seeds are common in Cuban cooking, as well as cuisine in the Philippines, and in the Caribbean. The early Spanish colonists would substitute annatto for saffron in their recipes.
Annatto seeds contain Vitamin A.
Foods that taste good with Annatto Seeds
© 2013 Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger All rights reserved
Cite me: Denlinger, J. (2013, January 24). Annatto Seeds. Retrieved from: FloridaChef.net