2.2 lb box $26.95
The essential ingredient in achiote paste is annatto seeds, which come from the achiote tree native to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and northern regions of South America. The taste of annatto is mild, somewhat reminiscent of saffron: lightly sweet, smoky, musky, with hints of pepper. Cooks value this seasoning for its visual appeal as much as its flavor. It imparts a lovely yellow hue to rice dishes, for example. Achiote paste pairs well with traditional Latin American and Caribbean spices and often turns up in regional stews, sauces, gravies and bean dishes. The paste works particularly well as a rub or marinade for pork, chicken and fish.
The achiote tree (Bixa orellana) thrives in most tropical and subtropical climates and now grows far from home, in Africa, India and Southeast Asia, where annatto has found its way into local cuisines. But Latin American and Caribbean countries remain the primary consumers of this seasoning, and Brazil is the top producer of annatto seeds. Use of achiote products dates back to the ancient Mayan civilization. The Mayans and later the Aztecs and Incas used annatto for cooking, ceremonial body painting, dyeing and healing.
Modern science confirms annatto’s health benefits. Loaded with carotenoids, the seeds promote eye health, since carotenoids can stave off both cataracts and macular degeneration. Significant levels of calcium make achiote paste a happy way of protecting bones. Brazilian studies conducted on laboratory rats suggest annatto could be helpful for diabetics, by balancing blood sugar levels. The seeds also have antimicrobial, diuretic, expectorant and detoxifying properties. It’s no wonder indigenous healers used achiote products to treat stomach, kidney, liver and respiratory problems.
Wholesale buyers will appreciate the hefty bulk size of our achiote paste, offered in 2.2-pound boxes.