The bright red seeds harvested from a tropical shrub. Often used in South American dishes, it has a subtle, earthy flavor and aroma. It has also been used as a dye and a natural food coloring for centuries. Brazil is the main producer and exporter. Known here as urucum or colorau the seeds are used as a natural red food coloring in the food industry, cosmetics (lipsticks) and also in the Brazilian cuisine. The color result is similar to paprika, and it does not alter the flavor of the food. Also, Brazilian indians and other Latin-American indians use the seeds to make body paint.
Annatto is also widely used in coloring cheeses, most famously Red Leicester. It is also rubbed on the rind of langres to produce it's characteristic color.
The seeds are sold whole, crushed, or in a paste. Best kept in a cool, dark and dry place.
Small flowering shrub or tree with pink flowers and bright red fruit that have red seeds contained in a pod. The triangular-shaped Achiote seeds are surrounded by a red pulp that is separated from the seeds and pod when they are harvested.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
Added as a spice, paste or a color for food dishes, or dyes and paints.