Sunday, 7 November 2010
CINNAMON: My favorite Spice!
Cinnamon adds sweetness to snickerdoodles, zest to eggnog, and compliments chocolate and banana heavenly! Cinnamon "is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum which can be used in both sweet and savoury foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South East Asia, and its origin was mysterious in Europe until the sixteenth century." Widely used in cooking and baking, cinnamon is one of my favorite spices to use and one of the oldest spices known. Here is a brief look into cinnamon:
COOKING/BAKING: What cinnamon is usually used for:
-Adding depth to apple pie and other fruit pies.
-Complimenting banana for banana fosters.
-Giving cinnamon rolls their flavor.
-Mixed with sugar, giving people something to dust on toast, churros, and other fried items.
-Middle eastern cooking, example: lamb tagine, curries,and garam masala.
-Add flavor to popular festive drinks: eggnog, cocoa, mulled wine, and spiced cider.
-When used in cooking, it inhibits bacteria growth, making it a natural preservative.
-Making your kitchen smell wonderful!
POPULAR HEALTH BENEFITS OF CINNAMON, WHEN CONSUMED:
-Can lower LDL cholesterol and blood sugar.
-Anti-clotting effect of blood.
-Help treat diarreha, nausea, and vomiting.
-Boost brain function.
-To get "cinnamon" health benefits, dust some cinnamon on toast, add it to tea, mix it in to your oatmeal, or make cinnamon bread!
Cinnamon comes in two forms: Round sticks (about 3 inches long) called "bark" or powder form. The sticks are great when "infusing" taste to liquids, compotes, or alcohol. The powder form is most popular when cooking and baking.
Even though there are many varieties of cinnamon, two most popular are Ceylon cinnamon and Chinese cinnamon, or "cassia." Ceylon is more rare and has a subtle, refine taste to it versus cassia. Some people say Ceylon is the only "true" cinnamon, yet when it is in its powder form, it is hard to tell a difference between Ceylon and Cassia.
But, in bark form, Ceylon bark, when looking at the ends, you should multiple layers of thin bark. Cassia bark with have a "one-piece" thick bar layer.
Cinnamon has many culinary and health benefits for your life. Add it to cookies, curries, and Sangria! Remember to purchase only true cinnamon and enjoy the sweetness that comes with it.