Cinnamon -

Is the spicy bark of young branches of the Cinnamon Tree, cut off in strips and dried in the sun, curling during the process into the quills with which the consumer is familiar. Ceylon Cinnamon is obtained from Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, native to Ceylon but also cultivated to some extent in the East Indies. Cassia Cinnamon is from Cinnamomum Cassia, the chief East Indian and Chinese type. Both kinds are sold both in quills and ground, their fragrant aromatic flavor making them a popular adjunct in cookery, confectionery, etc.

Ceylon Cinnamon is the variety referred to in the general article on SPICES as, in earlier days, a commodity of great value and the cause of many wars and much bloodshed. It was first carried to the world's markets by Arabs, who kept its source a close secret for a number of centuries and contrived to discourage possible investigators by stories of fabulous monsters inhabiting the country from which they were supposed to obtain it. That the tree grew wild in Ceylon, was not generally known until the 14th century, in spite of the fact that the spice had been continuously in use since the early days of Israel, Greece and Rome.

Ceylon Cinnamon is of a pale yellowish-brown color and generally of lighter, cleaner and smoother appearance than Cassia. The quills (the smaller enclosed in the larger) are also usually thinner and more tightly rolled, but these distinctions are not absolute, as there are many different grades of Cassia.

Cassia Cinnamon was until recent years decried as an inferior imitation, principally because the greater part of the supply consisted of the inferior and poorly prepared China product. It has however just as good botanical title to the general name of "Cinnamon" as the Ceylon type, and, as the result of the fine quality now exported from French Cochin-China and the Dutch East Indies, it is to-day given the preference in the United States and in several European countries, because its flavor is more pronounced and more lasting - the Ceylon is milder and so much more volatile that it loses readily on exposure to the air. The demand for Ceylon Cinnamon has indeed so lessened that commercial interests are urging the cultivation of Cassia in Ceylon in order to maintain the island's position in the trade. In analytical circles the Ceylon variety is still conservatively described as "True Cinnamon" instead of by the commercial term "Ceylon Cinnamon."

The lower grades of Cassia are cheaper than any of the Ceylon generally marketed, but the best qualities are more expensive. The four main grades are those known as Saigon, or Saigan, from French Cochin-China (the choicest): Corintje and Batavia of the Dutch East Indies, and China (the cheapest). Saigon Cassia is generally used for blending with lower grades.

Arround Cinnamon in The Grocer's Encyclopedia


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