CategoryHerbs and spices

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Spices and herbs

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the dried inner bark of various related trees native to Asia.[1][2][3]

Varieties edit

Several varieties of cinnamon are used as food, including Ceylon or "true" cinnamon, cassia or Chinese cinnamon, and Indonesian cinnamon. Ceylon and cassia cinnamons are the most common.[3][4] In some countries, both cassia and Ceylon cinnamons can be marketed simply as cinnamon,[5][6] while other countries only allow Ceylon cinnamon to be marketed as such.[2] Once ground, the two varieties are very difficult to distinguish.[2]

Characteristics edit

Cinnamon is brown and woody, and the whole "sticks" are curled up on themselves. Notably, Ceylon cinnamon forms a single, thin, spiral composed of many layers, while cassia cinnamon forms two thick curls that meet in the middle.[2][6][7] Cassia is also typically redder and darker than Ceylon cinnamon.[6][7]

All varieties of cinnamon contain the characteristic cinnamon flavor compound of cinnamaldehyde, which gives it a so-called "warming" or spicy quality.[8][7] However, there are other, more subtle flavor nuances between different varieties.[1][2] Ceylon cinnamon is generally milder than cassia, with floral and clove-like notes.[2][4] Cassia, on the other hand, is stronger, peppery, and more bitter.[2][5]

Selection and storage edit

Cinnamon can be purchased in either the whole "stick" form or ground to a fine powder. Both keep very well when stored in an airtight container away from moisture, though the ground form loses flavor more quickly.[4][8] Still, purchasing ground cinnamon is typically worth it since whole cinnamon is challenging to grind.[5]

Use edit

Cinnamon is widely popular and employed in cookery as a flavouring material, being used in both sweet and savory dishes.[2] Because cinnamon tends to enhance the sweet flavor of dishes,[8] it is especially associated with various desserts and pastries, as well as fruity beverages.[4][5][8] It also complements meats well and is used in many such dishes in Asian and North African cuisines.[7][8] Because the aromatic components of cinnamon are not particularly water-soluble, cinnamon needs to be either cooked in oil or heated for a long time in an aqueous mixture.[5][8]

Substitution edit

Generally speaking, the different varieties of cinnamon can be substituted for each other, with some adjustment to compensate for the slight difference in flavor and potency.

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. a b deMan, John M.; Finley, John W.; Hurst, W. Jeffrey; Lee, Chang Yong (2018-02-09). Principles of Food Chemistry. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-63607-8.
  2. a b c d e f g h Provost, Joseph J.; Colabroy, Keri L.; Kelly, Brenda S.; Wallert, Mark A. (2016-05-02). The Science of Cooking: Understanding the Biology and Chemistry Behind Food and Cooking. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-1-118-67420-8.
  3. a b The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu (2011-12-02). Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking Foundations. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4390-5713-1.
  4. a b c d Rinsky, Glenn; Rinsky, Laura Halpin (2008-02-28). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-00955-0.
  5. a b c d e Labensky, Sarah; Martel, Priscilla; Damme, Eddy Van (2015-01-06). On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, Updated Edition. Pearson Education. ISBN 978-0-13-388675-7.
  6. a b c "Discover Cassia and Find Out Which Type of Cinnamon You're Eating". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-03-29.
  7. a b c d Van Wyk, Ben-Erik (2014-09-26). Culinary Herbs and Spices of the World. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-09183-9.
  8. a b c d e f Farrimond, Dr Stuart (2018-11-06). The Science of Spice: Understand Flavor Connections and Revolutionize Your Cooking. National Geographic Books. ISBN 978-1-4654-7557-2.