Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices but also one of the most popular, and delicately complements a variety of savory and sweet dishes. It’s inimitable, unique flavor immediately takes us back to our grandmother’s cooking, childhood treats, and the aromas of our favorite teas. Here is everything you need to know about this delicious spice.
Cinnamon, a tropical bark
Cinnamon comes from an evergreen tree that requires a lot of sunlight. It’s roots and leaves are edible but the most sought-after part is its bark, which is taken from branches and shoots during the rainy season. The upper layer is then removed and dried. During this process, the bark naturally curls up to form small tubes which we know as cinnamon sticks.
There are several varieties of this spice, but the most popular is Ceylon cinnamon. It has a strong yet delicate taste, and is also known as “true cinnamon.” It can be recognized by its ochre color – lighter than other types – and its thinner bark. As its name indicates, this cinnamon is originally from Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), where a large amount is still produced. However, it is also grown in other countries such as Indonesia and Madagascar.
Sweet or savory?
Cinnamon has been used since ancient times, when it was probably consumed for its medicinal properties due to its high levels of antioxidants. Later, during the Middle Ages, this delectable spice became a popular addition in cooking. However, it remained a rare commodity only available to the wealthy. Cinnamon was then increasingly used over time to become the commonly-used spice we know today.
Cinnamon sticks are very crumbly and can be used whole or ground into a fine powder. The whole sticks are best used in simmered and marinated dishes, while the powder form is ideal for adding flavor to cakes and pastries.
We’re sure you have a whole host of delicious recipes for tasty snacks and moreish meals using cinnamon. But here are a few more mouth-watering ideas for dishes that pair particularly well this spice: tajine, chicken curry, apple tart, rice pudding, cookies, and brioche! And don’t forget gingerbread, a must-have addition to the festive season made with cinnamon, and tea, of course!
There’s no hiding that cinnamon is meant to be shared, whether at family gatherings, snuggled up next to the fire, or at meals with friends. Your go-to spice for the start of winter as you prepare for Christmas!