December 18, 2009 10:25 AM
Achiote or Annatto Seeds
POSTED IN: Ingredients , Herbs & Spices
TAGS: Achiote , Annatto , Ingredients , Paste , Recado , Seeds , Spices , Yucatan
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Achiote or Annatto seeds is a spice that grows heavily in the Yucatán area and is unique and native to this area. The seeds come from the Annatto tree, which grows beautiful pink flowers that produce a prickly pod which has dozens and dozens of these seeds inside (continue for more information and photo).

Achiote 1.jpg
The seeds have a beautiful brown, brick, reddish warm and appealing color. The Mayas used the seeds since Pre-Hispanic times to color their skin, garments, art and they also mixed them with their chocolate drink as a symbol of blood, given the color, in their rites. The seeds provide a strong, pungent and sort of permanent flavor to the dishes they are used in.