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annetto seeds

what are annetto seeds & is there an everyday substitute?

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  1. Seeds of a tropical plant called achiote. When put in oil add a pigment of orange that is seen most often in 'american' cheese denoted orange. Has very subtle flavors but is mostly a food dye, natural and considered very safe.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

      Thanx Delucacheesemonger.So if colour not an issue,no need 2 substitute?

      1. re: esseppess

        What cuisine or recipe are you working from?

        There are some southern Mexican (Yucatan) dishes where achiote is used in large enough quantity to affect taste. But people usually buy it in a flavored paste form, since the whole seeds are hard and difficult to grind.

        Elsewhere in Latin America it is used mostly for color, sort of a poor man's saffron.

          1. re: paulj

            Maybe not the thread to ask/comment, but Port Salut cheese has two layers of orange, one on the outside lookslike a plastic wrapping of sorts, but the inside seems to be an intregal part of the cheese which is very difficult to scrape off. Achiote?

            1. re: Rella

              Achiote (annato) is used to color cheeses like cheddar. I doubt it is used directly as a coating, but it might color the wax that commonly coats cheese.

              1. re: paulj

                From Wikipedia
                "The cheese is now produced in a factory; the characteristic smooth crust the result of a plastic-coated wrapper. The crust is edible, but is made of wax and detracts from the flavour of the cheese.

                Handmade Port Salut cheese or "Entrammes" cheese is still produced by various monasteries throughout the French countryside, and differs subtly from its commercial cousin."

                No doubt the coloring on the inside is the backside of the waxed outside.

                It is one of my "all-time favorite cheese," so it is distressing to me to that I have to scrape off the inside of the wax, too, which has sunk in/become an integral part of the cheese itself.

        1. re: drongo

          Thanx 4 turning me on 2 Cook's Thesaurus Drongo.(BTW,r u frm the land of Vegemite & meat pies?)

          1. re: esseppess

            Nope... originally from another Southern hemisphere country that also has drongoes (of the feathered if not the human variety) and where Marmite is the spread of choice.

            1. re: drongo

              And I thought there were only human drongos,native 2 the land of Oz.That's 2 things I learned frm u 2day,thanx again.

        2. Annatto is usually used for coloring, although there are a few recipes in regional Mexican and Filipino food that rely on the seeds for a grassy, earthy flavor. If you are just making something like yellow rice, I don't think you need to be too concerned with substituting, but if you are making cochinita pibil, that's a different story.

          1 Reply
          1. Although not an "everyday substitute", Dende Oil (palm oil) would make an excellent substitution if you want flavor and coloring.