Books, Spice, and Everything Nice: Annatto

For 2022, the Berryville Library is hosting its own Books, Spice, and Everything Nice spice club. Stop by the library to get the spice of the month and then stop by the blog on the first Tuesday of the month for recipes and more information on the featured spice. We’ll also be adding monthly posts about cookbooks in our collection. For November, our spice is annatto!

Annatto is a spice with ancient roots in Central America and the Caribbean. Both the Mayans and Aztecs prized it for the rich color it lends, and cooks today also use it for its mild flavors and stunning color. It’s a popular spice in Central American, Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Rican cuisine, and we’re especially going to be highlighting recipes from Central America and Puerto Rico.

Looking for a wonderfully flavorful take on roasted chicken? Try the pollo rostizado from Berryville’s own Aracely Ramirez.

Prefer something with sausage? Try the annatto rice with sausage and tomatoes.

Need a new recipe for pork? Try the Yucatán pork with annatto and ancho chiles.

Want to expand your culinary horizons beyond annatto powder? Try the homemade achiote paste.

On the search for a quick but tasty weeknight meal? Try the easy achiote chicken.

Love tasty vegetarian food? Try the Puerto Rican yellow rice and black beans.

Prefer to wing it? Just follow your heart–and the flavor profile suggestions–on recommended uses and pairings.

Not a cook? You might still learn something (and be amused) with the history and trivia about the spice.

Please be sure to update us about how you used annatto in November. You can tell us in the comments here on the blog, share them with us on Facebook or Instagram with the #bplspice hashtag, or stop by the library.

Still looking for some ways to use annatto in your kitchen? Even though I ultimately didn’t include them in the handout, I was also intrigued by Slow Cooker Tacos al Pastor, Authentic Puerto Rican Arroz Con Pollo, and Coconut Mango Baked Chicken.

Recipes in handout lightly adapted from originals in Food and Wine, Bravo Supermarkets, Kiwilimon, and Food Network.

A very special thank you to Aracely and Kelly Ramirez for providing and transcribing recipes, helping me source additional recipes, and patiently answering all my questions about how to best use annatto.

Download PDF.

What’s your favorite recipe that uses annatto? Which recipe are you most excited to try? What spices do you use the most in your cooking? Tell us in the comments!


Author: berryvillelibrary

"Our library, our future"

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