INDIA TREE ANNATTO SEED
Annatto seeds come from the fruit of the annatto tree, an evergreen native to Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In these regions it is used as both a spice and a colorant, adding a golden-orange color to the dishes in which it appears. In Puerto Rico it is used to color the oil in which rice is cooked; in northern Mexico it is used to make achiote, a paste for marinating meat, fish, and poultry; in Yucatan, it is used as a dye for cloth.
Heat INDIA TREE Annatto Seeds in oil, then use the oil to add aroma and color to a chicken dish; grind them with other spices and add to a slow cooking Mexican bean dish; grind them to powder and whisk into a grilled tofu marinade.
To make achiote paste, combine INDIA TREE Annatto Seeds with Mexican oregano, cumin seeds, peppercorns, and whole allspice. Grind this mixture in an electric spice/coffee grinder, sift and grind again. Add only enough water to the ground spices to make a paste. Store in the freezer.
To use, crush a small amount of paste with garlic and sea salt, thin with mild vinegar or bitter orange juice. Allow the meat to marinate in this mixture for 1 or 2 hours, or overnight, before roasting or grilling.