Also Known as
Dal-chini, darchini, dhall cheene
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. Cinnamon comes in 'quills', strips of bark rolled one in another. The pale brown to tan bar strips are generally thin, the spongy outer bark having been scraped off. The best varieties are pale and parchment-like in appearance. Cinnamon is very similar to cassia, and in North America little distinction is given, though cassia tends to dominate the market. Cinnamon is also available ground, and can be distinguished from cassia by its lighter colour and much finer powder.
How to select
This can be prepared by roasting the whole cinnamon and then crushing them into fine powder. A blender may be used for this purpose as cinammons are hard to be ground into powder in a mortar and pestle. Cinnamon powder is used for marinades, stews, soups or cakes and pies.
Cinnamon can be bought whole or in the ground form. Whole cinnamon are much more aromatic and flavoursome and if possible try to buy whole cloves as opposed to the ground powder. Whole cinnamon should be compact and free of any blemishes. Just like with other dried spices, when purchasing cinnamon, try to select that which is organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated. While buying packaged cinnamon powder, check the expiry date and feel for lumpiness( sign of moisture inside the packet)Culinary Uses
" The flavour of cinnamon is quite delicate and aromatic more delicate, thus is used more in dessert dishes. It is commonly used in cakes and other baked goods, milk and rice puddings, chocolate dishes and fruit desserts, particularly apples and pears.
" It is used in curries and pilaus and in garam masala.
" It may be used to spice mulled wines, creams and syrups.
" In Mexico, cinnamon is added to tea and brewed.How to store
Whole barks of cinnamon will keep their flavour indefinitely. Unfortunately it is difficult to grind, so for many recipes the powdered variety will be preferred. Like other powdered spices cinnamon loses flavour quickly, so should be purchased in small quantities and kept away from light in airtight containers.Health Benefits
" Recent studies have determined that consuming as little as one-half teaspoon of Cinnamon each day may reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by as much as 20% in Type II diabetes patients
" It is mildly carminative and used to treat nausea and flatulence.
" The essential oil of this herb is a potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, and uterine stimulant