You may have noticed me mentioning this word (roucou) when I posted the cornmeal pastelle recipe a few weeks ago. So I thought it would be nice to do a post on this natural red colouring , and how it is made.
A little About Roucou
Roucou or Oucou, as some people call it, comes from the fruit of the Achiote (Bixa orellana) tree. Here in Trinidad we have two types, the usual red that most people know of and a green variety that doesn’t get red but dries after a while. So if you are waiting for this kind to get red or ripe you will be waiting in vain haha!!!
This natural dye has long been used by Amerindians as a body paint. Perhaps this is a remnant of our Amerindian heritage, mainly the Caribs, in our country who have been here long before Columbus, supposedly discovered Trinidad and Tobago. But just as a side note, could you discover or rediscover a place….and find people living there before you discovered it?
Hmmmm Just imagine that is what they taught us as “Caribbean History”. Anyhow where were we… Yes! roucou.
Achiote pod showing the seeds.
Gather some of the fruit and scrape out the seeds into a bowl using a spoon.
Add some water and allow to soak for a few hours or overnight if you have time.
After soaking, strain the water in a separate bowl. Add a little water to the seeds and rub the seeds between your hands to get some more of the dye out and strain again. This could be done about three times.
Bring the roucou to a boil and add salt to taste.
Not too much though. Set aside to cool.
When cool pour in bottles and store.
After rubbing the seeds rigoroursly between the hands, your hands will get the red dye, so for easy cleanup you can use use bleach.
Roucou could be refridgerated or not; it is just personal preference since it doesn’t really spoil.
Well that’s it for a long awaited post. Until then bye!
Don’t forget to leave your comments on roucou in the comment box below.