So You Think That Is Cinnamon?
Practically everyone knows cinnamon, and knows it well. Children love cereal laced with cinnamon, graham crackers that are cinnamon flavored, and of course cinnamon toast is a go to favorite. Cooks and consumers alike know and appreciate that pumpkin pie, apple crisp, and hot cider all fare better with the addition of cinnamon. But is that really cinnamon you are sprinkling into that dessert you have been slaving over? Are you sure that it is cinnamon you are savoring in that fresh applesauce? The container may say cinnamon, but is it? I am sorry to break the news to you, but for the most part what you call cinnamon really isn’t cinnamon at all. Yes, sadly this is true. We have all been duped. Most spice containers labeled cinnamon are really filled with cassia. The U.S. powers that be allow cassia to be labeled cinnamon. What is the difference you ask? Once you taste or even smell true cinnamon you will not forget it. True cinnamon is Ceylon Cinnamon or Sri Lankan Cinnamon and is from the inner bark of an evergreen tree grown in the tropics. Cassia also comes from a tropical evergreen tree grown in the same area. Both are ground from inner tree bark but there the similarities stop! So how can you easily tell the difference? Cinnamon is sweet and earthy. Cassia is more pungent and is almost bittersweet to the tastebuds. True cinnamon is light in color, almost beige or tan, while ground cassia is more red, or red-brown. Cinnamon sticks are pale in color and made of several curled layers, while cassia sticks are solid, reddish-brown and durable. True cinnamon is more expensive and harder to find, though with a little effort you will spot some as more consumers are demanding true cinnamon. The next time you are going to enjoy hot cider, fresh apple pie or anything complimented by cinnamon, use true cinnamon. The difference will be apparent with the first sniff or sip. Once you ‘convert’ to true cinnamon, you won’t change your mind! It so much better than cassia. It is what you want when you want cinnamon!