Humans were using spices
in 50,000 BC. The spice trade developed
throughout the Middle East in around 2000 BC with
and pepper, and in East Asia (Korea, China) with
In the 18th century, Holland had such a fiercely
guarded monopoly on the
trade that the government made growing or selling
outside its colony of Amboina, in Indonesia, a crime
punishable by death. The Chinese were said to use
them as far back as 226 BC. Apparently they chewed
the flowerettes prior to having an audience with the
Emperor so that their breath would not smell bad.
Cardamom is used to break up kidney stones and gallstones,
and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and
scorpion venom. Guatemala is the largest producer of cardamom
in the world with an average yield of between 25 thousand
to 29 thousand metric tons annually.
is the only edible fruit of the orchid family,
the largest family of flowering plants in the world
The early term for "merchant" in Austronesian is *dagang
(Dempwolff) and this word is very similar to one of
the terms for "ocean."
Columbus' far-fetched proposal to reach the East
Indies by sailing westward received the support of
the Spanish crown, which saw in it a promise,
however remote, of gaining the upper hand over rival
powers in the contest for the lucrative spice trade
The Cashew Nut is actually a seed and not a "nut",
in the botanical sense. The seed is surrounded
by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic
resin, anacardic acid, a potent skin irritant
chemically related to the more well known allergenic
oil urushiol which is also a toxin found in the
related poison ivy. Properly roasting cashews
destroys the toxin, but it must be done outdoors as
the smoke (not unlike that from burning poison ivy)
contains urushiol droplets which can cause severe,
sometimes life-threatening, reactions by irritating
While native to Brazil, the
Portuguese took the
plant to Goa, India, between the years of 1560
and 1565. From there it spread throughout Southeast
Asia and eventually Africa.
Annatto, sometimes called roucou or achiote, is derived from the seeds
of the achiote trees of tropical and subtropical regions around the world.
The seeds are sourced to produce a carotenoid-based yellow to orange
food coloring and flavor. Its scent is described as "slightly peppery
with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly nutty, sweet and peppery"
Annatto is commonly used in Latin American and Caribbean
cuisines as both a coloring and flavoring agent. Central and South American
natives use the seeds to make body paint and lipstick. For this reason,
the achiote is sometimes called the "lipstick-tree". Achiote originated in
South America and has spread in popularity to many parts of Asia.
It is also grown in other tropical or subtropical regions of the world,
including Central America, Africa and Asia.
Annatto is a naturally intense dye which can range in color from bright yellow to deep orange.
Many commercially made food products utilize annatto for its potent color. Achiote powder mixed
with other spices and herbs can be turned into a paste to marinate and give
a smoky flavor to meats, fish and poultry.
When used in small amounts primarily as a food colorant, annatto has no
discernable flavor. However, when used in larger amounts to add flavor,
it imparts an earthy, peppery flavor with a hint of bitterness.
Achiote seeds give off a slightly floral or peppermint scent.
Kautilya Commodities is a supplier of Annatto
The Achiote Tree
The achiote tree beautiful bright pink flowers
which made it popular as a hedge plant in colonial gardens. The fruit capsule
is heart-shaped, like a beech pod, with opposing clefts and red prickly spines.
When ripe, the pod splits in half to reveal about fifty seeds encased in a
red pulp. The pulp is used in many commercial dye products. The Achiote tree
is commercially grown for dyes and for its seeds as a spice. It requires a
tropical habitat in a loamy soil at altitudes below 1,000 m (3,000 ft).
It can be sown from the seed or from cuttings.
Annatto Seeds from Guatemala,
Annatto seeds have often been
used in folk medicine for the treatment of common
information about availability, quality,
specifications and price of annatto seeds, please