Condimantra Cinnamon Spices
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Cinnamon

Condimantra Cinnamon Spices

Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances

  1. Native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), true cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, dates back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C.
  2. The Arabs were the first to introduce cinnamon to the west and dominated the trade for centuries (~3000 yrs). They transported cinnamon via cumbersome land routes, resulting in a limited, expensive supply that made the use of cinnamon a status symbol in Europe in the Middle Ages
  3. Despite its widespread use, the origins of cinnamon was the Arab merchants’ best-kept secret until the early 16th century
  4. Both Cassia and Cinnamon was known in the ancient world. Cassia was the more widespread species, though Cinnamon was considered to be of finer quality
  5. In the first century A.D., Pliny the Elder wrote off 350 gm of cinnamon as being equal in value to over 5kg of silver, about 15 times the value of silver per weight
  6. Cinnamon was too expensive to be commonly used on funeral pyres in Rome, but the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year’s worth of the city’s supply at the funeral for his wife Poppaea Sabina in A.D. 65
  7. Around 1518, Portuguese traders discovered cinnamon at Ceylon, and conquered its island kingdom of Kotto, enslaving the island’s population and gaining control of the cinnamon trade for about a century until the Ceylon kingdom of Kandy allied with the Dutch in 1638 to overthrow the Portuguese occupiers
  8. The Dutch defeated the Portuguese but held the kingdom in their debt for their military services, so once again Ceylon was occupied by European traders, handing the cinnamon monopoly over to the Dutch for the next 150 yrs
  9. When the Dutch learned of a source of cinnamon along the coast of India, they bribed and threatened the local king to destroy it all, thus preserving their monopoly on the prized spice
  10. Ceylon then was taken over by the British in 1784 after their victory in the fourth Anglo-Dutch War, but by 1800, cinnamon was no longer an expensive, rare commodity, as it had begun to be cultivated in other parts of the world

Scientific Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Other Names: Ceylon Cinnamon/ Cinnamomum verum (True cinnamon), Cinnamomum burmannii (Indonesian), Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese), Cinnamomum loureiroi (Vietnamese), canella (Italy), dal-chini (India), Ceylonzimt (Germany)

Facts

  1. Cinnamomum verum called true cinnamon tree or Ceylon cinnamon tree is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka. The old botanical synonym for the tree—Cinnamomum zeylanicum—is derived from Sri Lanka’s former name, Ceylon
  2. Cinnamomum cassia, called Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon, is an evergreen tree originating in southern China, and widely cultivated there and elsewhere in southern and eastern Asia (India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam)

Health benefits:

  1. Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and fibre and a very good source of calcium (Calcium and Fibre Improve Colon Health and Protect Against Heart Disease)
  2. Cinnamon’s essential oils have been shown to have anti-clotting and anti-microbial properties
  3. Cinnamon may also significantly help people with T2D to improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels
  4. Smelling the wonderful odour of this sweet spice has shown to boost brain activity

Grading:

  1. The Sri Lankan grading system divides the cinnamon quills into four groups:
    1. Alba, less than 6 mm (0.24 in) in diameter
    2. Continental, less than 16 mm (0.63 in) in diameter
    3. Mexican, less than 19 mm (0.75 in) in diameter
    4. Hamburg, less than 32 mm (1.3 in) in diameter
  2. These groups are further divided into specific grades. For example, Mexican is divided into M00 000 special, M000000, and M0000, depending on quill diameter and number of quills per kilogram.
  3. Any pieces of bark less than 106 mm (4.2 in) long are categorized as quilling

 

Common uses in Indian cuisine:

  1. The early uses of cinnamon were both to preserve meat but also to disguise tainted meat, it contains phenols which kill the bacteria that cause meat to go off; and it also has a strong sweetish smell
  2. Cinnamon sticks are commonly used in Indian cuisine such as Pulao/biryani (rice dish), meat dishes such as chicken Mughlai, daal bhukhara, navratan korma and others
  3. It is also popularly used as part of the marinade in vindalooand, in conjunction with the other spices
  4. It is one of the key ingredient in garam masala
  5. Cassia and cinnamon have similar uses, but since it is more delicate, cinnamon is used more in dessert dishes
  6. It can be used in milk and rice puddings, boiled in milk for medicinal purposes
  7. Cinnamon tea is a popular drink in India combined with honey for treating various illnesses

 


Sources

 

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