A cinnamon stick is an aromatic spice useful for adding a sweet flavour and a bit of spicy flavour to food. Cinnamon comes from Cinnamomum trees and is mostly available in the form of sticks and powder. This spice contains some aromatic substances, but the most famous one is cinnamaldehyde. Below are other fun facts about cinnamon sticks.
An Aromatic Spice for the Elites
Long time ago, cinnamon was valued for its sweet yet strong aroma. During the Middle Ages in Europe, cinnamon was an ingredient representing the status of the elites. This means only elites and royalties that could enjoy this spice. Arabian traders brought this aromatic spice from Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, to Europe.
The Portuguese took over the cinnamon trade during the 15th century. In the 17th century, cinnamon became the most profitable spice for Dutch East India companies and dominated kitchen ingredients all around the world. The most popular kind of cinnamon is from China and Sri Lanka, though it is planted in all Asia, Europe, and North America.
An Ingredient for Embalming the Dead
Cinnamon has been medically used since 2500 BC in China, while ancient Egyptians use it with myrrh to embalm the dead as cinnamon contains antibacterial properties. According to Everyday Health, ancient Hebrews used cinnamon in their rituals. It is mentioned in the bible that cinnamon is an ingredient in the preparation of the holy anointing oil.
Kinds of Cinnamon Commonly Used in Cooking
Cinnamon comes in several kinds. And here are the most common types of cinnamon that people use in their cooking.
Cassia Cinnamon / Saigon Cinnamon
Cassia cinnamon is the most popular variant in East Asia and the United States. This variant of cinnamon is thick, dark-coloured, and has a rough texture. It is spicier with a bitter flavour as well due to its high cinnamaldehyde content.
Verum Cinnamon / Ceylon Cinnamon
Verum cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka and south India. However, it is mostly planted in East Africa and Mexico. This variant of cinnamon is fragile with a smoother, softer texture. Ceylon cinnamon is unique as it is spiral. Compared to cassia cinnamon, verum cinnamon is smoother as it contains lesser cinnamaldehyde. It is popular in Mexico and South Asia.
Loureiroi Cinnamon / Royal Cinnamon
This variant of cinnamon is pretty hard to find in global markets though world spice suppliers sell it. Most royal cinnamons grow in Vietnam so that it is also known as Vietnam cinnamon. Royal cinnamon is very sweet and very spicy. It also contains the highest level of coumarin and cinnamaldehyde compared to other variants of cinnamon.
Burmannii Cinnamon / Indonesian Cinnamon
Burmannii cinnamon is also known as Indonesian cinnamon that is from Southeast Asia. This variant of cinnamon tastes less spicy compared to cassia cinnamon and royal cinnamon. It is reddish brown on the outside with greyish brown on the inside. Also, the shape is thick stripes.
Those are some fun facts and variants of cinnamon you might want to know. Do you like adding a cinnamon stick to your cooking?