4 Things You Might Not Know About Cinnamon
Who knew that cinnamon had such a rich and vast history? It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BC. It was used as a prized gift fit for monarchs and gods. The Greeks used it to flavor wine and the ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in the embalming process.
Let’s test your cinnamon knowledge. Do you know where cinnamon comes from? Did you know that there is more than one type of cinnamon? Did you know that cinnamon can be used in savory dishes as well as sweet dishes? What are some other uses for cinnamon other than in food?
1. Where does cinnamon come from?
Cinnamon is the aromatic bark of the Cinnamonum tree. The tree is native to Sri Lanka, but is also grown for commercial purposes throughout the West Indies, Sumatra, Egypt, Brazil, Vietnam, and Madagascar. It can also be found in other countries that have high humidity and usually close to the equator.
2. Did you know that there is more that one type of cinnamon?
There are many species of the Cinnamomum tree, and the bark of many of these are cultivated and sold as cinnamon. The two most common are Cassia (Cinnamomum cassia) and Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum).
Labeling laws do not require packages to distinguish between Cassia and Ceylon. Most of the cinnamon sold in the United States is Cassia. It is often refered to as ” Saigon cinnamon” or “Chinese cinnamon“. It is cheaper to produce and has a bolder less subtle flavor than Ceylon.
The more expensive Ceylon cinnamon is widely used in Mexico, Europe and many parts of Asia. It is paler in color and is comprised of many thin layers of bark instead of one coiled strip of bark like cassia. Ceylon is soft enough to be ground in a coffee grinder.
3. Are there other uses for cinnamon other than a spice in food?
Some of the other uses for cinnamon other than in food are in medicines, as a insect repellent, in pickling, it is also used in food preservers and cosmetics.
4. What is the best way to store cinnamon?
Store cinnamon sticks and powder in air tight containers in a cool, dark place. Because ground cinnamon goes stale quickly loosing its flavor and aroma, it is best to buy it in small quantities. You can grind your own cinnamon sticks in a spice or coffee grinder for the best flavor.
Cinnamon is well- known as a key ingredient in many sweets and baked goods. But it is widely used as an addition to savory food items such as marinades, dressings, meats, poultry, and fish. It partners well with lamb and spicy dishes. Some of the countries that commonly use cinnamon are: The United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Poland, The Middle East, Korea, India, and China and many more.
Here are some of my recipes with cinnamon
Carrot Orange Cookies With Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting
The Culinary Institute of America, The Professional Chef 8th edition
On Cooking, A Textbook Of Culinary Fundamentals