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Had a quick look in my books for the Annato plant and found a small amount of information on it.
The plant Annato is also called Achiote, Aploppas, and Orellana to name a few. The plant is from the Amazon rain forest where it was first discovered. The plant provides seeds which are crushed and mixed with water to make a paint (seeds are red) which the native Amazonian people use as a war paint when painting on there face.
The plant is from Central America; it has heart shaped leaves, and produced a pink flower. The fruit the plant provides is heart shaped and when ripe the pod splits to show the seeds
I am not 100 percent sure if any plants have been grown in Europe as the plant needs tropical weather and to be grown at 3000 ft.
Annatto isn't used as much as it use to be, but it was used to control fevers and Kidney diseases.
In Asian countries the pulp is used as an insect repellent.
It's mostly used as a dye in medical industry for ointments etc.
Annato is supposed to have a peppery taste with a hint of nutmeg, and is also a food colouring and is known for its anti-oxidants.
South American cooking and through out the Caribbean the crushed seeds are used as a dye for foods.
Here in the Europe it is used to dye cheese like Leicester, and in Europe it's used in Edam cheese.
Very sketchy information in the books about Annato but hopefully you will know more than you did.
Thanks for reading my reviews, and thankyou for rating them.
Tashi Delek (May everything be well)
enlightened_one © 2007
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review also in Ciao