For thousands of years cinnamon has been popular for its unique flavor and medicinal properties. Even though it has been known to lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar, prevent cancer, and give relief for arthritis, we love it because it has a sweet and subtly spicy flavor that can’t be beat!
Cinnamon is available in either stick or ground form.
When buying cinnamon, it is important to know that there are actually two different spices sold in our stores, without distinction, as “Cinnamon”. Ceylon cinnamon, known as “true cinnamon,” is more difficult to find and often more expensive. The cinnamon we typically find in grocery stores is actually Cassia (also known as Indonesian cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon). Cassia and Ceylon, although they belong to the same family and genus, come from two different plants.
Even for an advanced palate, it can be difficult to tell the difference between Cassia and true cinnamon, which is more sweet and delicate. If you’re buying in ground form and want to be sure which spice you’re buying, purchase cinnamon products that identify the source of their cinnamon; you may have to visit a specialty spice shop. If you’re buying in stick form, look down the barrel of the stick. Ceylon cinnamon will consist of multiple thin layers of bark stacked together, while Cassia will be one solid, thick piece of bark.
Want an easier rule of thumb? If you find yourself saying, “Golly, this is expensive cinnamon!” then it’s probably true cinnamon.
Cinnamon, like most other spices, should be sealed tightly in a glass container in a cool, dark, dry place. The sticks can be stored for longer (about 1 year), while the powdered form has a shorter shelf life (about 6 months). The shelf life of cinnamon can be extended if it is stored in the refrigerator.
If you want to buy cinnamon in stick form (for a longer shelf life), use a coffee grinder to grind it for recipes that call for ground cinnamon. We don’t recommend using the same coffee grinder for spices and coffee but if you only have one grinder on hand, grind up a piece of bread between coffee and cinnamon, it will help soak of the flavor and clean the grinder between uses.
We’ve got a slew of cinnamon snacks, entrees, and desserts! Here are some of our favorites.
Slow Cooker Apple Onion Soup with Cinnamon Cheese Toast
Smokey Apply Cinnamon Meatloaf
Jerk Shrimp Kebabs
Jerk Wontons with Caribbean Salsa
Pork Tenderloin with Root Vegetables
Apple and Grilled Chicken Pizza
Caramelized Pork Loin