Annatto Powder, Everything You Need To Know

What is Annatto Powder?

Cooking is a science and also an art. The best art pieces draw out emotion from those that view them. Food can do the same. The right ingredients can bring the true taste of a recipe to light. A light that will never die out. The recipes we hold close today are often passed down from generation to generation. When stocking the shelves at The Natural Spot, we make sure to hold that in mind. Our organic natural spices are essential to creating the perfect dish as our ancestors and family intended it to be. A story that never ends as we continue to break bread and share meals throughout our lives. This includes our Annatto Powder. It may not be a spice sitting proud in your cabinet today, but it should be! It comes from the seed of the achiote tree. Where does this tree come from? The achiote tree is indigenous in Central America, Mexico, South America and the Caribbean. The seed has been used widely through history as medicine, dye alongside enhancing local dishes. It has a rich depth of flavor and is essential to many of our household favorite meals.

What Does Annatto Powder Look Like?

The oblong lage acorn shaped seed is definitely unique to Annatto. There are tiny eyelash-like bristles that stick all over the seed giving it a red porcupine appearance. The bright red vibrant color is very rich and is used in many food colorings and cosmetics today. The powder has also been used in textiles, ice creams, mixed with meat to give it a more vibrant red hue, and even as an antioxidant. It doesn’t just come in red though, it can be yellow and orange too. Your favorite red lipstick, orange eye shadow or even yellow butter is most likely colored with the spice. When crushed it looks very similar to Paprika. Annatto Powder has been used for centuries in many different forms. It has been referred to as the poor man’s saffron too. Some other uses throughout the history of this spice has been to keep bugs away, as body paint, specifically in Aztec and Mayan culture, and to enhance the color of chocolate

Order ground Annatto from the Natural Spot

What Does Annatto Taste Like?

Taste can vary from person to person, but Annatto Powder is most often described as  floral, sweet and peppery. It has nutty, earthy notes as well, and can be compared to Paprika. Both are dark red spices and give off similar aromas. However, it should not be used in large quantities because it can taste bitter. It is true what they say, you can have too much of a good thing. This spice has been used in dishes all over the world from the Philippines to Mexico, the United Kingdom to Cuba, and more. It really gives a depth of flavor to a multitude of foods. The most common way to use Annatto Powder is to toast it in the oil or butter you are using at the start of a recipe. Different cooking methods can draw out different flavors of the Annatto Powder. For example, you can turn the powder into a paste. Below are five delicious dishes that use Annatto Powder that you might recognize.

5 Popular Food Dishes with Annatto

  1. Chicken Tikka Masala, a traditional Indian dish.
  2. Beef Empanadas, a traditional Spanish dish.
  3. Kare-Kare, a traditional Filipino dish.
  4. Pork Menudo, a Spanish dish and Filipino dish both use Annatto Powder.
  5. Cuban Arroz con Pollo, a rich Cuban dish.

Where Can You Buy Annatto Powder?

You can find Annatto Powder right here on our website. Our Annatto powder is all natural and freshly sourced. We carry it in both its raw and powder forms. If you have any questions about our Annatto Powder you can contact us here. Whether you are eating with family and friends or by yourself, using spices in their raw and natural form allows your dishes to stay true to themselves. Recipes are our oldest language and using the proper ingredients allows our ancestors’ legacies to remain steady in our lives today.

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