Does it really make a big difference which type of cinnamon you use? After all, cinnamon is cinnamon, right? A full appreciation of the types of cinnamon and what each one offers comes from looking at their individual characteristics.
Keep reading to discover some engaging facts about cinnamon varieties. You may find that you become more selective in your use of this wonderful spice.
The cinnamon spice generally comes from the inner bark of the tree and is sold in either stick or powdered form.
There are reports of the ancient Egyptians using cinnamon over 2000 years ago and Chinese books on botany mention cinnamon as far back as 2700 B.C. It has been used in food preparation and as a component of medicines. It has also has been a major trading commodity throughout history.
Several trees of related species are used to obtain the cinnamon spice withone particular species, the Ceylon referred to as “true cinnamon”. The other formsfrom which much of the commercially available cinnamon is derived are referred to as “cassia cinnamon”. These include Chinese (or Cassia), Saigon and Korintje cinnamons.
The Ceylon cinnamon is grown in Madagascar, the Caribbean, India, Brazil and of course, Sri Lanka (the former name of which is Ceylon). It has the lightest colour and is the least spicy of all the cinnamons.
It is, however, the sweetest and a particular favourite as an addition to baked goods in areas where it is grown. Ceylon cinnamon has a place in savoury and spicy dishes as well. It is a frequent addition to Indian curries and deserts.
Tung Hing or Chinese cinnamon is also known simply as Cassia cinnamon. It is very intense with a bitter and spicy flavour. Tung Hing is grown mainly in China, Vietnam and Sri Lanka
This is a fragrant cinnamon often described as intense, spicy and smooth. It is very popular among bakeries because apart from its great flavour, it also comes at pretty low price. The Korintje cinnamon is grown in and exported from Indonesia withits primary market in North America.
This variety is also known as Vietnamese cinnamon and comes from the Southeast Asia region. It is a close relative of the Chinese cinnamon and has what is often described as a robust and bold flavour. Saigon cinnamon is a vital part of Vietnamese cuisine. Its strong taste makes it well suited for cooking and for saucemaking. In fact, it is used in the “pho”, which is perhaps the most well-known noodle soup of the region.
Each type of cinnamon brings its own unique flavours to your diet. Why not give each of them a try? You can best preserve their freshness by storing them in a cool, dark place (such as the refrigerator). Just be sure to use airtight glass containers. That way you can always be sure of maximum sweet and spicy flavour from this wonderful spice.