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Ingredient of the Week, December 1: Cinnamon

Posted by on Dec. 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM
  • 23 Replies

 

                                              

Cinnamon is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known as a quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder.

While there are approximately one hundred varieties. Ceylon cinnamon is also referred to as "true cinnamon", while the Chinese variety is known as "cassia". While both are relatively similar in characteristics and both feature a fragrant, sweet and warm taste, the flavor of the Ceylon variety is more refined and subtle. Ceylon cinnamon is more rare in North America than the cassia, the less expensive variety, which is the most popular in the United States.

History

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent. It was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold.

Cinnamon's popularity continued throughout history. It became one of the most relied upon spices in Medieval Europe. Due to its demand, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

How to Select and Store

Cinnamon is available in either stick or powder form. While the sticks can be stored for longer, the ground powder has a stronger flavor. If possible, smell the cinnamon to make sure that it has a sweet smell, a characteristic reflecting that it is fresh.

Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while cinnamon sticks will stay fresh for about one year stored this way. Alternatively, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator. To check to see if it is still fresh, smell the cinnamon. If it does not smell sweet, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.

                                

I use in in making cinnamon toast, and in lots of cookies, cakes, cinnamon rolls and other Christmas baking. How do you use cinnamon?

by on Dec. 1, 2013 at 2:29 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Alieda
by Member on Dec. 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM
Toast and some recipes
periwinkle163
by on Dec. 1, 2013 at 3:32 PM

 I use it a lot in baking. Once I grabbed it on accident and poured a bunch it a pot of chili, as soon as it hit the pot I realized what I did, lol.

Plum912Oso
by on Dec. 1, 2013 at 8:54 PM

This morning it was used in making cinnamon toast for breakfast.

My mother had a dear friend, a sweet lady from Italy, who shared a family "secret" with us.  When making spaghetti sauce she would add a little bit of cinnamon.  It is amazing the depth it adds to the overall flavor of the sauce.  People can't place what is different, only that it has a richer flavor.

swdesigns
by Member on Dec. 2, 2013 at 9:19 AM

We use cinnamon in baking and in hot chocolate. 

SweetLuci
by Luci on Dec. 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Cincinnatti chili has cinnamon in it. How did yours turn out?
Quoting periwinkle163:

 I use it a lot in baking. Once I grabbed it on accident and poured a bunch it a pot of chili, as soon as it hit the pot I realized what I did, lol.

SweetLuci
by Luci on Dec. 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

 Dh's family is from Italy, and I've never heard of that. Interesting.

Quoting Plum912Oso:

This morning it was used in making cinnamon toast for breakfast.

My mother had a dear friend, a sweet lady from Italy, who shared a family "secret" with us.  When making spaghetti sauce she would add a little bit of cinnamon.  It is amazing the depth it adds to the overall flavor of the sauce.  People can't place what is different, only that it has a richer flavor.

 

KaylaMillar
by Kayla on Dec. 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM
1 mom liked this

I use it in cinnamon rolls, toast, french toast....

Plum912Oso
by on Dec. 2, 2013 at 4:08 PM
1 mom liked this

 Well we were told it was a family "secret" perhaps it really was.  Anyway, give it a try and see if your family likes it....just as a change of pace.

Quoting SweetLuci:

 Dh's family is from Italy, and I've never heard of that. Interesting.

Quoting Plum912Oso:

This morning it was used in making cinnamon toast for breakfast.

My mother had a dear friend, a sweet lady from Italy, who shared a family "secret" with us.  When making spaghetti sauce she would add a little bit of cinnamon.  It is amazing the depth it adds to the overall flavor of the sauce.  People can't place what is different, only that it has a richer flavor.

 

 

KamsOne
by Jen on Dec. 2, 2013 at 4:13 PM

I love cinnamon.  I use it in baking and cooking.  I always add a tiny dash to my spaghetti sauce...gives it a wonderful flavor.

KamsOne
by Jen on Dec. 2, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Oh..ha ha.  I had entered my reply before I saw this.  Yes, the tiny bit of cinnamon in the sauce really adds such a unique flavor.  Just a tiny dash though.  If you put too much it ruins the sauce.  And yes, you'd never guess that the different "taste" is cinnamon.

Quoting Plum912Oso:

This morning it was used in making cinnamon toast for breakfast.

My mother had a dear friend, a sweet lady from Italy, who shared a family "secret" with us.  When making spaghetti sauce she would add a little bit of cinnamon.  It is amazing the depth it adds to the overall flavor of the sauce.  People can't place what is different, only that it has a richer flavor.


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