Annatto - Food Coloring



Annatto, sometimes called Roucou, is a derivative of the achiote trees of tropical regions of the Americas, used to produce a red food coloring and also as a flavoring. Its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly sweet and peppery".[1]
Annatto is produced from the reddish pulp which surrounds the seed of the achiote (Bixa orellana L.). It is used in many cheeses (e.g., CheddarRed Leicester, and Brie), margarinebutterrice, smoked fish, and custard powder.

Annatto is commonly found in Latin America and Caribbean cuisines as both a coloring agent and for flavoring. Central and South American natives use the seeds to make a body paint, and lipstick. For this reason, the achiote is sometimes called the lipstick-tree. Achiote originated in South America and has spread in popularity to many parts of Asia. The heart shaped fruits are brown or reddish brown at maturity, and are covered with short, stiff hairs. When fully mature, the fruits split open exposing the numerous dark red seeds. While the fruit itself is not edible, the orange-red pulp that covers the seed is used as a commercial food coloring and dye (similar to turmeric). The achiote dye is prepared by stirring the seeds in water.
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