|While top chefs, spice merchants and experienced home cooks can distinguish between cassia and Ceylon cinnamon, to the average consumer, cassia is most likely the only "cinnamon" they know. There are actually four types of cinnamon – Korintje, Chinese, Vietnamese and Ceylon. Cinnamon comes from the genus Cinnamomum and there are two main varieties of this genus – Cinnamomum cassia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Cinnamon is the delicate inner skin of fragrant tree bark. Both cinnamon and cassia trees have grown wild throughout Asia for thousands of years.
Cinnamon has a long history, with some of the earliest writings mentioning it being imported into Egypt in 2,000 BC. It has a history of use in not only sweet dishes, but savory ones as well. In medieval Europe, it was frequently added to a large kettle which contained meat and fruit casseroles. This was probably one of the the first one pot meals. Cinnamon marries numerous flavors together.
Types of Cinnamon
There are two varieties of cinnamon - Ceylon (also known as “true cinnamon”, Canela or Mexican cinnamon) and Cassia. Cassia Cinnamon is the standard cinnamon that is found in most American kitchens and of our two types of cinnamon, this one is probably the most familiar to you.
Cassia cinnamon is grown in China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Korintje Cinnamon, Cinnamomum burmannii, is also known as Indonesian cinnamon. Korintje cinnamon is native to Southeast Asia and is closely related to other types of Cinnamon Cassia such as Cinnamomum loureiroi, which is known as Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia, and Cinnamomum aromaticaum (often referred to as "Chinese cinnamon"). Cassia cinnamon is used throughout East Asia, South East Asia and here in the U.S.
The other genus of cinnamon is Cinnamomum zeylanicum (called Ceylon cinnamon or “true cinnamon”). The term "cassia" is never used when referring to Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is more popular in Europe, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia.
Not All Korintje Cinnamons Are Equal
Korintje is typically the cinnamon of choice for commercial bakeries in this country because of its good, familiar flavor and relatively low cost. We stock the highest quality Korintje cinnamon available - grade A with 3% cinnamon oil (most grocery stores usually carry Indonesian cinnamon with the the lower grade B or C which produces a much lower cinnamon oil content). Grade A cinnamon provides the highest cinnamon oil content of all the Indonesian cinnamon grades, while also delivering the most intense flavor and aroma. Grade A harvested quills must be one meter long and taken from the main trunk of the tree, while the lesser grades come from the branches.
Where to Use
Use cinnamon in breads, buns, cakes,
cookies, pies, pastries and other sweets. Sprinkle on toast, pancakes,
waffles or in coffee.
Cinnamon pairs well with apples, bananas, cauliflower,
chocolate, corn, grapes, nuts, onions, oranges, peaches, pumpkin,
squashes and tomatoes.
Korintje cinnamon is a key ingredient in the spice blends
apple pie, berbere, apple pie, sweet curry and ras el hanout.
Korintje Cinnamon has a delicate spicy, sweet flavor.
Korintje cinnamon isn't quite as sweet as Vietnamese Cinnamon, is a bit mellower than Chinese cinnamon and is spicier than Ceylon cinnamon.
If you're making Mexican based deserts and
the recipe calls for cinnamon you should really use Ceylon cinnamon.
These deserts have been perfected over the years using the specific
flavor profile that Ceylon cinnamon provides.
Some of our favorite recipes using cinnamon are Peach Crumble, Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies, and to show that cinnamon isn't just for desserts Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Amritsari Chole (a classic Punjabi dish).
We also carry a complete selection of cinnamon sticks.
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