Name some of your favourite dishes in the world and you’ll find a warm, spicy sweet and familiar fragrance and flavour that brings a smile to your face and many health benefits to your body.
One of the highest in antioxidants and the queen of my spice world, Cinnamon is the inner bark of an evergreen tree that grows mainly in the Malabar coast of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,Myanmar and Indonesia.
Thin strips of this bark are tightly hand-rolled like cigars and sun dried into beautiful long quills. They are sweet and mild in flavour. After watching this time consuming process in Sri Lanka I could never again bring myself to just break a cinnamon quill without appreciating the loving work these harvesters put into each perfectly hand-rolled quill.
As my friend rightly said. When you actually make or watch a product being made, there is a lot more appreciation and less criticism for what is and it’s price rather than when you just buy it off the shelf.
So what about that thick bark you’ve been picking up from the supermarket?
Used mostly in savoury dishes Cassia comes from the Cassia tree. This cheaper stronger variety is the more popular find all over the world. Nothing wrong with it, but it always better to investigate into where your ingredients come from and buying good quality and local if available, is always the best move. Like most ingredients in our world, cinnamon has its place and is to be consumed in moderation. Health fads begone!
Savoury or sweet?
Think breakfast and you’ve can add it to cereal, yogurts, toasts, pancakes,etc.
Lunch /dinner and you’ve got curry’s, stews, roasted vegetables, roasts, soups, rice dishes, biryanis, couscous, etc.
Desserts! It’s more like -Where do I stop? …..
Deliciously warm cinnamon rolls, sweet breads, poached fruit, cakes, baklava, meghli, cookies, etc.
Add it to drinks like mulled wine and cider, tea and coffee, smoothies or that warm glass of milk just before bed. The Ancients Mayans and Mexicans today use it wisely in their chocolate drinks, chocolate mixes and Mole.*
In spice blends (Chinese 5 spice, Garam masala, Sri Lankan curry powder, Ras el Hanout) or preserves, marmalade’s, pickles, jams and fruit jelly.
So store it wisely in a tightly closed jar away from the sun, buy only what you need and powder it freshly when required. And if you ever get tired of consuming it in food (which I doubt is very likely to happen) burn some cinnamon oil in your home or find out how it’s used to deter pests in the garden or gift it in a simply decorated jar to a loved one.
* Mole is a traditional marinade and sauce originally used in Mexican cuisine.
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