Cinnamon

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. It is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which is available in its dried tubular form known as a quill or as ground powder. The two varieties of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, have similar flavor, however the cinnamon from Ceylon is slightly sweeter, more refined and more difficult to find in local markets.

Nutritional Profile

Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and fiber and a very good source of calcium.

Health Benefits

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.

How to Select and Store

Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown cinnamon since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated (among other potential adverse effects, irradiating cinnamon may lead to a significant decrease in its vitamin C and carotenoid content.)

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Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while cinnamon sticks will stay fresh for about one year stored this way. Alternatively, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator. To check to see if it is still fresh, smell the cinnamon. If it does not smell sweet, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.

History

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent. It was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. Around this time, cinnamon also received much attention in China.

Due to its demand, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Nutrition Chart

Cinnamon, ground | 2 tsp | 5.20 g | Calories: 13

NUTRIENTAMOUNTDRI/DV (%)
Vitamin K1.62 mcg 2
Vitamin C0.20 mg 0
Vitamin E 0.12 mg1
Vitamin A0.77 mcg0
Choline0.57 mg 0
Vitamin B30.07 mg0
Vitamin B60.01 mg 1
Folate0.31 mcg0
Iron0.43 mg2
Copper0.02 mg2
Potassium22.41 mg1
Selenium0.16 mcg0
Sodium0.52 mg 0
Zinc0.10 mg1
Calcium52.10 mg5
Magnesium3.12 mg1
Phosphorus3.33 mg0
Manganese0.91 mg46
Protein0.21 g 0
Carbohydrates4.19 g2
Fiber2.76 g11

Percent Daily Values (%DV) are for adults or children aged 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

Preparing and Cooking Cinnamon

It’s not just for the holidays—break out the cinnamon and use it so spice up cookies, bread, and other sweet treats. Cinnamon sticks are commonly added to stews, curries and hot drinks.Cookies are nothing without cinnamon, it lends certain soups and stews a depth of flavor, and a multitude of cakes and puddings would be a sad disappointment if it were not for this delightful spice.

The Healthiest Way of Cooking With Cinnamon read: Recipes.

Source: www.whfoods.com

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