3 things you may not know about cinnamon
- Cinnamon is the most common baking spice used in North American kitchens.
- True cinnamon is the bark of a type of laurel tree native only to Sri Lanka. Most mass-market cinnamon sold here is actually cassia, a look- and taste-alike from a slightly different tree.
- In ancient Rome, mourners burnt cinnamon in funeral pyres; Emperor Nero, for example, used a year's supply for his wife Poppaea's funeral.
1 way to tell if you're using true cinnamon
- True ground cinnamon is tan-coloured, and has a sweeter, warmer flavour than cassia. As well, true cinnamon sticks curl in only one direction, while cassia sticks curl in from both sides.
2 quick ways to try cinnamon right now
- Mix with sugar and butter to make cinnamon toast on frosty winter mornings.
- As an accompaniment to roast meats in Cameline sauce, a mixture made of cinnamon, cider vinegar and water.
2 cinnamon concoctions a world away from apple pie
- Garam masala, a spicy Indian flavouring made with cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, cumin, coriander, nutmeg and peppercorns.
- Chinese five-spice powder, containing cinnamon, along with star anise, fennel seeds, cloves and peppercorns, and used in many Asian meat dishes.
1 tip you can't live without
- Add ground cinnamon to liquids either before or after they boil. If you add it during boiling, the liquid may become stringy and the cinnamon will lose its flavour.
The Canadian Living Recipes section has many delicious recipes featuring cinnamon.