Cinnamon, whether it is your morning coffee, a delicious homemade ice-cream, and even your savory dishes, a pinch of it really makes your dish amazing. This wonderful spice has been used for over the years due to its fragrance, medicinal and culinary properties and has a number of health benefits. It is actually an exotic and sweet-flavored spice obtained from the inner brown bark of Cinnamomum trees which when dried into sunlight are rolled into tubular sticks called Cinnamon Sticks or quills. This one great spice compliments both sweet and salty dishes and drinks as well.
There are different types of cinnamon, but only four varieties of it are used for commercial purposes. These varieties include Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon, and Korintje Cinnamon. Cassia, Saigon, and Korintje Cinnamon are classified under the Cassia Cinnamon as they are very similar to each other. The only slight variations found in their taste, color, shape, and the most important Coumarin content. Now, what is Coumarin? It is a substance that can cause liver damage or even complete failure of the liver. Only the Ceylon Cinnamon has a low level of Coumarin, and all other variations consist high level of Coumarin.
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Four types of Cinnamon and their uses
1. Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon Cinnamon, also known as True Cinnamon and Mexican Cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, Madagascar, and the Caribbean. It is light reddish brown in color and a little thinner and softer in appearance. Ceylon Cinnamon sticks are soft, crumbly and rolled like a cigar with layers of soft, brittle Cinnamon bark. The best thing about Ceylon Cinnamon that makes it the preferred choice is that it has ultra-low Coumarin levels, the high doses of which causes liver damage.
Ceylon Cinnamon is an absolute must for fine desserts because it is subtle, smells very mild and is slightly sweeter in taste. Ceylon Cinnamon Powder if added to the baked goods, the aroma it gives off is a very sophisticated and fragrant. It is more expensive than other varieties of Cinnamon.
2. Cassia Cinnamon
Cassia Cinnamon also known as Chinese Cinnamon is very intense with a bitter and spicy flavor. It is generally medium to dark reddish brown in color with hard and woody texture. It is also thick as all the layers of bark are used for Cassia Cinnamon. This type of Cinnamon mainly grows in China and used in many of the Chinese medications for coughs, phlegm, and other illness.
3. Saigon Cinnamon
Saigon Cinnamon also known as Vietnamese Cinnamon, which comes from the SouthEast Asia. It is closely related to the Chinese Cinnamon and has been described as its robust and bold flavor. Its strong flavor makes it a good addition to cooking and sauce making. This variety of Cinnamon is one of the most vital parts of Vietnamese cuisine where it is used as an important ingredient for making dishes like “Pho,” a well-known noodle soup. It is little more expensive than Cassia or Chinese Cinnamon and contains highest levels of Coumarin.
4. Korintje Cinnamon
Korintje Cinnamon is also known as Indonesian Cinnamon. It is mainly grown in and exported from Indonesia with its primary market in North America. This variety of cinnamon is very popular for its fragrance and has been described as intense, spicy, and smooth. This one variety is very popular for commercial bakeries due to its great flavor, and also it is less expensive than other varieties.
Each variety of cinnamon has their own unique flavors, and a little addition of them gives your dish a unique and amazing taste and flavor. So, why don’t you give them a try? For flavoring food, go with any of these varieties and discover what works best for each food. As a beneficial health supplement though, Ceylon Cinnamon is the best.