What is Cinnamon, Exactly?
Cinnamon is a dried spice that comes from the bark of certain evergreen trees. The inner bark is stripped and dried into curls, or cinnamon sticks, which are then ground into a powder and added to a wide variety of dishes and drinks.
There are two types: Ceylon cinnamon, or “true” cinnamon, and Cassia cinnamon, the more common variety most people use. Ceylon tastes lighter and brighter, while Cassia is stronger and hotter. The trees are native to Sri Lanka and the surrounding areas and are cultivated in South America and the West Indies.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has long been used for its medicinal properties. The spice has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help fight against stress and chronic disease. It has been shown in studies to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol, helping reduce the risk of heart disease. Cinnamon can also lower blood sugar and may protect against cancer by preventing the formation of blood vessels in tumors.
How to Use Cinnamon
To make the most of this spice’s delicious flavor and health benefits, here’s a variety of sweet and savory ways to add cinnamon to your daily diet.
- Sprinkle on warm oatmeal or rice pudding
- Stir into coffee and hot chocolate
- Add to baked goods like oatmeal cookies and quick breads
- Top fresh or baked fruit like peaches and apples
- Spoon into smoothies, like banana with almond milk
- Add to marinades for meats for a Middle Eastern flavor
- Add to curries and chilis for warmth and sweetness
- Place a whole stick into a pot of tea and steep together
Best Cinnamon Recipes
Already a cinnamon lover? These recipes let the spice’s earthy flavor shine.
Mango, chili, garlic, and cinnamon make this cinnamon chicken curry a flavor blast.
Paired with butter and vanilla, cinnamon makes these cinnamon cookies sing.