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home > food & wine dictionary > cinnamon

Food and Wine Dictionary


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 cinnamon    [SIH-nuh-muhn]

Once used in love potions and to perfume wealthy Romans, this age-old spice comes in two varieties —Cinnamomum  zeylanicum  (Ceylon cinnamon) andCinnamomum  cassia  (cassia). Cinnamon is the inner barkof a tropical evergreen tree. The bark is harvested during the rainy season whenit's more pliable. When dried, it curls into long quills, which are either cutinto lengths and sold as cinnamon sticks, or ground into powder. Ceylon(or tree) cinnamon is buff-colored and mildly sweet in flavor;cassia cinnamon is a dark, reddish brown color and has a more pungent,slightly bittersweet flavor. Cassia cinnamon is used and sold simply as"cinnamon" in many countries (including the United States). Cinnamon is widelyused in sweet dishes, but also makes an intriguing addition to savory dishes suchas stews and curries. Oil of cinnamon comes from the pods of the cinnamontree and is used as a flavoring, as well as a medicinal. See also SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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