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Cinnamon Is One Of The Oldest Spices

Cinnamon is considered one of the oldest spices and dates back in history. There are two different varieties, Cassia and True. This particular spice is used throughout the world in either a ground form or quills, which are better known as sticks. Here is some basic information on each variety and its origin.

Both of these are basically grown and cultivated in the same manner. The stick or quills come from the bark of the tree. The quills are peeled from the bark through a process described below.

A stick ranges in size from six to twelve inches, and and can be one quarter to as much as one and a half inches in thickness. The quills have a deep reddish brown tone and the ground variety has a lighter brownish red tone. The buds from this tree have a sweet and spicy taste, similar to the bark.

Cinnamon Quills

Quills Or Sticks

Ground Cinnamon

Ground Cinnamon

Cassia, or Chinese Cinnamon, is native to China and Burma. Burma is located near China and India. Cassia has a richer flavor and is the primary source of this spice in the United States.

There are also other varieties that are derived from the Cassia specimen. In the northern part of French Indo - China there is the Saigon Cassia cultivated.

In the Dutch West Indies, the Batavia Cassia is grown.

True Cinnamon is native to India and Ceylon. Ceylon is a small island in the Indian Ocean. The history of this specie dates back to the Hebrews and Egyptians.

They used the oils in sacred ceremonies and today the oils from this spice are used throughout many churches and temples. It is also a delight in Potpourris and Sachets. Some perfumes are made from the oils of this spice.

Cinnamon is a tropical evergreen does best in sandy soil and can be germinated from seeds. This is usually done in a nursery setting. Once a tree is full grown, the shoots from the tree can be planted. These shoots can develop anywhere from four to six feet.

The bushes will develop around three to four shoots. This is when the peeling process begins. When the leaves first appear they are a rich red color. As the leaves mature they turn a deep green color. At this time the trees are usually about six to seven years old.

The first cutting usually begins in the month of May and continues throughout the summer months into August. The weather may play a very important role, depending on the monsoons. The ideal time to peel and roll the quills are after a heavy rain.

The cutting process usually resumes in November. All of the branches are taken to a sheltered area. Native workers will scrape the branches and the bark is removed. The bark is sorted and trimmed into a quill. The bark is dried and trained workers put the smaller quills into larger ones. They tie the sticks up into bundles. The bundles are exported according to the size, color and thickness.

Get creative and use the sticks with the eight basic herbs. To read more follow the link at the bottom of the page.

Herbs & Spices: The Cook's Reference is a fantastic book. Great insights on cooking with spices and herbs. It has wonderful reviews and is a great addition to your cookbooks and library. Herbee and I cook with spices and herbs all the time and we highly recommend this book!

Both the sticks and ground varieties are used in pickling spices. Either one of these can be put in soups, sauces, cakes or other baking recipes. We love taking the ground variety and sprinkling over sweet potatoes or yams. A touch of this spice on fresh carrots adds a great flavor.

The spice is also a great addition to beverages, fruits, and appetizers. Put a single stick in a cup of hot tea or sprinkles of ground over cream in a cup of coffee.

This spice works wonders in different flavored ciders as well. This particular spice is almost a given in kitchens and restaurants all over the world.

There are also a couple of medicinal uses for cinnamon. It's a wonderful spice to add to warm water and use as a mouthwash. It can also aid in the relief of an upset stomach.

The spice is said to help with colds and the flu. Boiling a stick with some cloves and water will get the remedy started. Add some honey and steep for a half an hour. If the cold is real bad and you need a little extra kick, a small amount of whiskey may help clear up the congestion. It is a must to consult a professional before using any part of a plant.

Cinnamon is one of my favorite spices and I use it regularly. The aroma as well as the flavor adds so much to provide a relaxing atmosphere any time of the day or evening.

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Cooking Herbs - Eight Basic Varieties --- Planning Your Vegetable Garden

Drying Herbs --- More Spices Besides Cinnamon

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