Achiote in the kitchen


What is achiote?

Photo of achiote

ACHIOTE or annatto (Bixa orellana) is the fruit of a tropical tree, called lipstick tree. It is used mainly for a coloring substance that its fruits contain, bixin.

The Native Americans used the powder of these fruits to paint their skin and protect it from the sun. This practice, widespread throughout the tropical zone, reached the North American tribes and was why the colonizers called the native inhabitants Redskins.

Phytotherapy uses annatto for its anti-inflammatory properties and as a source of provitamin A.

How to cook

Traditionally, annatto is crushed and prepared into a powder for later use (culinary, medicinal, coloring, etc.).

Like saffron and turmeric, annatto is added to dishes to tint them yellow and make them more appetizing.

In Mexico, a traditional dish is made with it, called Recado rojo or achiote paste. This sauce receives the name of the Mayan seasoning, because they were already using it in their cooking.

In the market you can find a product called “achiote paste”, consisting of the powder of the seeds mixed in vegetable fat.

Recipes with achiote

Uses of achiote

Its colorant, bixin, is used for many food products. In Europe it is the food additive E-160b (known as annatto or bixin).

In herbal medicine the fruits are used, which are rich in carotenoids and tannins. They have antioxidant properties and protect the stomach from acidity and gastritis problems. Traditionally it is a stimulating remedy.

Externally, ointments are used to protect the skin from the sunshine, soften it and help heal wounds.

punto rojo More information on achiote

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

9 May, 2021

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