Everyone needs cinnamon in their spice drawer. Like the pleasing scent of vanilla, the aroma of cinnamon can be incredibly intoxicating – its no wonder throughout history its been considered an aphrodisiac. With its sweet, spicy, warm fragrance, cinnamon is used in both sweet and savory foods, and its soothing scent is used in aromatherapy for relaxation. Cinnamon comes in granules, chips, ground, and sticks.
Will the Real Cinnamon Please Stand Up? To experience the best – there are two choices: fresh Ceylon sticks from Sri Lanka – and Saigon, or Cassia sticks from Vietnam. If you start researching, you will find Ceylon is often referred to as the “true cinnamon”. Ceylon cinnamon is a light sandy brown and has a more mellow flavor than Cassia. The bark that it comes from is thinner, the sticks are paper-like and form multiple, uneven layers when rolled up. Needless to say, its easily broken and, as expected, its more expensive. This is very different from the hard, reddish dark brown Cassia sticks that you probably have in your kitchen. Cassia cinnamon comes from a thicker bark and has more of a bite to it. In the US, most of the cinnamon you will find at your local grocer is cassia cinnamon. No surprise there! There are also some negative health implications with Cassia Cinnamon.
Aphrodisiac? When you ingest cinnamon it produces “heat” in the body so over the years many equated this heating action as adding some heat to their sex drive as well. An oil blend of Cinnamon was said to have been used by Queen of Sheba in her seduction of King Solomon, at around 950 B.C.
Nutrition: Cinnamon is said to help lower blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol. Some believe it impairs cancer cells and slows the growth of tumors. Thank you cinnamon – we’re forever grateful!
Storage: The shelf life of properly stored cinnamon is 4-5 years for sticks and 2-3 years for ground cinnamon. Like all other spices, it is best to store cinnamon sticks or powder in air-tight bottles i a cool place, away from heat, sunlight and moisture.
On a Last Note: While very pretty and uniform this is what Cassia Cinnamon sticks look like: