5 Types Of Cinnamon You Might Not Know And How To Use Them

There's something truly special about cinnamon that makes it feel like a hug in a jar. Its sweet and spicy aroma dances through the air, instantly lifting our spirits and putting a smile on our faces. Just a sprinkle of cinnamon can transform a simple dish into a delightful treat. Whether it's a cup of hot cocoa, a batch of freshly baked cookies, or a comforting bowl of oatmeal, cinnamon adds that extra touch of magic. But do you know where this warm, electrifying spice came from?

History Of Cinnamon

Cinnamon, one of the oldest known spices, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Its origins can be traced to the tropical regions of Asia, particularly Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) and parts of India. The spice comes from the inner bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum genus, which includes various species.

The ancient Egyptians were among the first to embrace cinnamon. They used it in embalming rituals and as an ingredient in perfumes. Cinnamon was highly valued in ancient trade routes, and its popularity spread throughout the Middle East and Europe. The Phoenicians, a seafaring civilisation, played a crucial role in the spice's distribution, bringing it to the Mediterranean region.

During the height of the Roman Empire, cinnamon was a prized commodity. It was imported from the East, mainly through trade with Arabia and India. Cinnamon's rarity and exotic nature made it a symbol of wealth and luxury. In fact, the demand for cinnamon in Europe during the Middle Ages sparked explorations in search of new spice routes, ultimately leading to the Age of Discovery.

Here are 5 types of cinnamon and how to use them:

Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum):

Ceylon cinnamon, often referred to as "true cinnamon," is considered the finest and most delicate variety. It is native to Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon), and its bark is thin and light brown in colour. Ceylon cinnamon has a subtly sweet and citrusy flavour with complex undertones. It is ideal for adding a delicate touch to desserts, beverages, and savoury dishes. Sprinkle Ceylon cinnamon over oatmeal, yoghurt, or hot chocolate for a fragrant and flavorful twist.

Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia):

Cassia cinnamon, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is the most common and readily available type. It hails from China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Cassia cinnamon has a stronger and bolder flavour compared to Ceylon cinnamon, with a slightly spicy and sweet taste. It is commonly used in baking, especially for cinnamon rolls, pies, and cookies. You can also infuse cassia cinnamon into tea or sprinkle it over roasted vegetables for a warm and aromatic kick.

Saigon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi):

Saigon cinnamon, or Vietnamese cinnamon, is known for its high essential oil content, which gives it an intense and robust flavour. It originates from Vietnam and has a reddish-brown colour and a rich, sweet, and spicy taste. Saigon cinnamon is perfect for adding depth to spiced desserts, such as apple pie or gingerbread. You can also use it in savoury dishes like curries or sprinkle it over your morning coffee for an extra kick.

Korintje Cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmannii):

Korintje cinnamon, also referred to as Indonesian cinnamon is darker and has a stronger flavour compared to Ceylon cinnamon, but milder than Cassia cinnamon. Korintje cinnamon has a sweet and slightly spicy taste with a hint of citrus. It is commonly used in baking, especially in cinnamon bread, muffins, and pastries. You can also incorporate it into marinades for meat dishes or use it as a topping for fruit salads and yoghurt.

Malabar Cinnamon (Cinnamomum citriodorum)

Malabar cinnamon, is primarily cultivated in India and has a distinct lemony fragrance. It has a lighter colour and a mild, sweet flavour with citrus undertones. Malabar cinnamon is versatile and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Add it to rice dishes, stews, or mulled beverages for a unique twist. It is also a great addition to desserts like custards, puddings, and baked fruit dishes.