Be it the tangy flavor and tempting aroma of your morning tea or deliciousness of apple pies, the credit always goes to the magical spice cinnamon. Cinnamon has always been associated with many feel-good memories in our life and its sweet fragrance is part and parcel of our art of cooking. Apart from enhancing food’s natural flavor, this spice has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Have your ever thought that this familiar kitchen spice has varieties and there could be different variants of cinnamon? Are you consuming ‘real cinnamon’? Or, fake one? There are plenty of factors to consider before purchasing cinnamon. Here, we have detailed guide for you guiding you through the types of cinnamon and telling you where to buy Ceylon cinnamon, so that next time you buy cinnamon, it is always the ‘true one.'
Varieties of Cinnamon
Although there are hundreds of varieties of Cinnamon, for commercial purpose, only four types are used. They are:
It is Ceylon cinnamon which is widely known as ‘true cinnamon’ or ‘real cinnamon.' Ceylon cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, Brazil, India, Caribbean, and Madagascar. Ceylon is remarkable for its sweet and mild flavor. Besides, it is also many times expensive that other varieties and is highly valued for its medicinal properties and a moderate amount of coumarin (natural blood thinning substance).
Although Cassia cinnamon belongs to the cinnamon family, it is notorious for its low quality. Also known as Chinese cinnamon, Cassia tends to be slightly bitter, less sweet, very intense and more pungent. At present, this variety is primarily grown in China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. Most of the produce stays in China and is used in Chinese medication.
Known as Vietnamese cinnamon, Saigon is produced from an evergreen indigenous to Southeast Asia. Saigon contains around 1-5% essential oil content and 25% cinnamaldehyde (essential oil) which is highest among all the varieties of cinnamon.
Saigon cinnamon is a crucial ingredient used in a number of Vietnamese cuisines. The volatile oils content in Saigon gives it a bold and robust flavor which is considered ideal for cooking as well as use in sauces.
Korintje Cinnamon is marked for its intense fragrance and spiciness, similar to Chinese variety but smoother that it. Korintje cinnamon is mostly produced in Indonesia. It is a popular choice for commercial bakeries in North America for its good flavor and reasonable price. Therefore, most of the produce is exported to U.S.
Cassia is infamous for its high level of coumarin content which is considered harmful for liver and kidney if consumed regularly or in high quantity. For occasional use, it poses no threat. On the other hand, Ceylon is valued for its negligible amount of coumarin, and it is why this variety is used in medicines and recommended for regular use (especially for regulating blood sugar level).
How to differentiate between Ceylon and Cassia?
Cassia looks reddish dark brown, while Ceylon looks tan or mild brown in color. Ceylon can be easily recognized by its thin, paper-like texture (when rolled up, it usually forms multiple layers), fragility (breaks easily). However, when it comes to cassia it has uneven thick barks; plus, it is difficult to grind.
Besides, Ceylon is remarkable for its sweet and mild flavor and gives out excellent aroma when used in desserts, bakery or any other dish. But, Cassia is pungent in flavor as well as aroma.
Where to buy Ceylon Cinnamon?
It is possible that even after knowing all the physical properties, you can’t differentiate between Ceylon from Cassia at your local store. Where to buy Ceylon cinnamon remains a question for most of the cooking enthusiasts. In such condition, it is better to buy Ceylon from a reliable store- online or offline- that guarantees real cinnamon shipped directly from Sri Lanka. Moreover, you will find a variety of cinnamon products other than sticks on an online store, like:
1. Cinnamon powder
2. Cinnamon tea bags
3. Cinnamon tea bags
4. Cinnamon toothpicks
5. Cinnamon toothpick holder
6. Ceylon bark oil
7. Cinnamon handmade soap
8. Ceylon leaf oil
If you use cinnamon to flavor your food, you may go with all the varieties and discover what goes best with your cuisine. However, if you use cinnamon daily or regularly to avail its medicinal properties, it is advisable to stick to Ceylon.