Botanical Name : Bixa Orellana
Other Names : Roucou, Achiote
Part Used : Seeds
Annatto or Achiote Seed is brick-red with a slightly bitter, earthy flavor and imparts a rich yellowish-orange color in Caribbean, Latin American and Filipino cuisines. It has been dubbed the "poor man's saffron" as the color is similar to the more expensive seasoning. Available whole or ground, the small triangular shaped seeds are used as both a spice and as a natural coloring in butter, rice, smoked fish and cheeses.
Annatto Seeds are collected from a small tropical tree native to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America. Central and South American natives use the seeds to make body paint and lipstick. The heart-shaped fruit are brown or reddish brown at maturity, and are covered with short, stiff hairs. When fully mature, the fruit splits open, exposing the numerous dark red seeds. The fruit itself is not edible, however the orange-red pulp that covers the seed is used to produce a yellow to orange food coloring
In India, annatto is known as "sindoor" and is considered auspicious for married women. Applying annatto to the forehead next to the hairline indicates that a woman is married. In the Philippines, it is called atsuete and is used as food coloring in traditional dishes.
This seed is usually used for producing food colouring and flavors . Annatto is used primarily in Latin cooking and as a natural coloring agent for cheese, rice, and vegetable dishes.
HEALTH BENEFITS :
Annatto is a rich source of tocotrienols, antioxidants that are similar in structure and function to vitamin E.