What Is ?
Buying, , and Recipes
is used in so many cultures, yet remains often overlooked and forgotten about. This ingredient comes from the tropical tree, and its bright yellowy-orange hue lends itself to use as a dye. It also possesses medicinal purposes and is a common used in many Latin American foods , along with Caribbean and Filipino cuisines. It’s often used in soups, , sauces, and marinades where it lends a sweet, peppery taste.
Most Common Use: dye and seasoning
Forms: , oil, paste
Origin: Latin American cuisine
What Is ?
is the or extract of the tree, which is indigenous to and , Mexico, and the Caribbean. and are commonly interchanged. The natural hues can range from yellow to dark orange when used as a dye, although the seeds are a deep, bright orange-red. The and pulp have been used for hundreds of years by locals and natives for a variety of purposes and are used heavily in as a , for medicinal purposes, and as a in many .
The fruit of the tree is covered with think, spiky hairs and heart shaped. Mature fruit pod can be easily opened by hand revealing their red seeds. These seeds can then be turned into , into a , or infused into oil. The edible dye is commonly extracted for commercial use.
History tells us that transitioned from primarily being uses as a dye to a kitchen stable when Europeans who arrived in the Americas. Saffron was the primary source to “tinting” their and instead resorted to using .
Did you know is responsible for the yellow of butter, margarine, and cheese? All of these would be a pale creamy without the addition of this natural dye. During the 1800’s was used commonly to give Cheddar cheese it’s classic . It was thought that the of high-quality cheeses came from the presence of beta-carotene from higher quality green grass fed to cattle. It seems ironic that today, many people now assume the bright yellow comes from unnatural ingredients and is not an indication of high-quality cheese.
You’d be surprised to learn that is also used as a in processed , beverages, smoked fish, and a variety of packaged foods. is also utilized in cosmetics for its strong hue, hence the nickname “the lipstick tree.”
, a form of vitamin E, has zero seeds are high in tocotrienol and zero . seeds and are also a rich source of antioxidants, contain antimicrobial properties and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as minerals like sodium, calcium, and iron. is used to improve digestion, help manage diabetes, strengthen healthy bones, and reduce signs of aging.
How to Cook With
Some of the most common practices for with is to steep it in oil or using rather than the whole seeds. is a critical aspect in many Latin American . paste is very popular and easy to use in many of your favorite . All you need to do is take a small amount of paste and mix it with some water. You can sprinkle on anything you are just like you would with any other dried herb or . If you’d like to use it as a dye and you have access to dried seeds, you can soaked them in hot water until they give off their , or you can fry them in a neutral oil such as canola or vegetable oil and strain off prior to using them in .
What Does It Taste Like?
‘s is often described as musky, slightly peppery, and earthy. You can sometimes catch a hint of sweet, floral .
Check back here soon for recipes and more from The Natural Spot! If you’re adding it to your and improvising, we advise adding it during the beginning of the process.
Where to Buy
You can buy it here! is not a common ingredient in American cuisine, so it can be difficult to locate these colorful seeds in grocery stores. Since we’re not your average store, we’ve made it our mission to provide unique spices from around the world, including !
Keep your in a safe, dry, dark area (like your kitchen pantry or cabinet) and you won’t have to worry about it going bad for up to 3 years. Keeping it in one of our airtight jars will help extend the life of your precious spices even longer!