spicesGrowing up in the Caribbean, I recall the savory smells of pots bubbling which in turn would cause me to anticipate what I would consume. Saltfish, conch in butter sauce, kalaloo, stew fish red peas soup, arroz con pollo, oxtail, curry chicken, pelau, are dishes that initially come to mind when I think of some of my favorite meals. These complex dishes begin with an blend of spices and sometimes vegetables. If you have ever made your own blend of spices to season your favorite meat, starch, vegetable, baking dish, etc. whether you know it or not you can consider yourself a mini food technologist.

I’m a food scientist and spices are my profession and passion. The fascinating world of food includes the spice industry, one of the world’s oldest businesses. My blogs will be dedicated to the history of spices, their origins, and uses. Beginning in 2017, each month we will take a trip around the world to explore and experience the many uses of spices from A to Z. Here’s a preview.

Achiote is a spice that is used in Latin and Caribbean cuisine.
Achiote, also known annatto or roucou, is the dried seeds from the evergreen shrub Bixa Orellana. The seeds are found the the pods of this shrub. The pod is cracked and the seeds are dried and then ground. Achiote/annatto/roucou is used as a colorant mainly in dishes. It adds a yellowish, golden color seen in “yellow rice”.
achiote powder
It does impart a mild, earthy flavor as well that is complementary to many rice and meat recipes. It is also used to flavor and color sofrito. Achiote is grown in tropical environments. European and African dishes also incorporate this spice.

Keep visiting my blog for more on the A to Z history of spices.

by Erin




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