You may have come across the term “true cinnamon” and wondered if that means all other cinnamon is “untruthful”.
Your cinnamon isn’t lying, but depending on how often you use cinnamon you may want to understand the main differences.
There are a number of tree species from which cinnamon bark can be collected.
Your regular supermarket variety of cinnamon is most likely cassia cinnamon, which comes from the cinnamomum cassia or cinnamomum aromaticum tree.
Cassia cinnamon, which originates in Southern China (and hence why it is also sometimes referred to as Chinese cinnamon) is considered a lower quality cinnamon, with a rougher texture.
Cassia cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin, which can be toxic in large or frequent doses. In studies, coumarin has been found to cause kidney, liver and lung damage and in some cases, cancer. Cassia cinnamon contains about 1% coumarin.
“True” cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamomum verum tree, which is native to Sri Lanka and southern parts of India. True cinnamon is also known as Ceylon.
True, or Ceylon, cinnamon is less common but is considered superior because of its delicate flavour, added health benefits and significantly (almost undetectable) lower levels of coumarin (about 0.004%).
True cinnamon is therefore more highly regarded, especially if cinnamon is a regular part of your diet.
Regardless of which cinnamon you use, the spice has long been hailed for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has also been shown to assist diabetics with controlling blood sugar levels.
10 ways to enjoy cinnamon
1. Sprinkle cinnamon on your morning porridge or cereal
2. Warm a cup of milk on the stove with mix of cinnamon, cacao powder and coconut sugar or honey for a hot chocolate treat.
3. Coat sweet potatoes in honey and cinnamon before roasting in the oven
4. Make weekend pancakes a little healthier by topping them fresh berries, natural or coconut yoghurt, some chopped nuts and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
5. Stew some apples in water or 100% apple juice, with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon.
6. Make apple chips by thinly slicing your favourite apples, coating with some sugar and cinnamon and bake in a low oven (or dehydrator) for two hours (flipping half way through)
7. Make a “cinnamon bun” smoothie with banana, natural yoghurt, vanilla, oats, cinnamon, honey and ice.
8. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon to your coffee.
9. Dust almonds with cinnamon before roasting in the oven.
10. Add a generous sprinkle of cinnamon to pumpkin soup.