Cinnamon is a
spice obtained from the inner bark of
several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that
can be used in both sweet and savory foods.
Cinnamon trees are native to South East
Asia, and its origin was mysterious in
Europe until the sixteenth century.
Nomenclature and taxonomy
The name cinnamon comes from Phoenician and
Hebrew through the Greek kinnŠmōmon. In
Malayalam, it is called Karuva. In Tamil, it
is called பட்டை Pattai.
In many other, particularly European,
languages it has a name akin to French
cannelle, diminutive of canne (reed, cane)
from its tube-like shape.
In Persian, it is called darchin (دارچین)
(literally meaning taken/picked from tree).
In Turkish, it is called "TarÁın". In
Telugu, it is called Dalchini chekka (దాల్చిన
చెక్క). In Kannada, it is called Chakke.
In Indonesia, where it is cultivated in Java
and Sumatra, it is called kayu manis ("sweet
wood") and sometimes cassia vera, the
"real" cassia. In Sri Lanka, in the original Sinhala, cinnamon is known as kurundu
, recorded in English in the 17th
century as Korunda. In Arabic it is
called qerfa (قرفة).
To you Health - Cinnamon
Flavor, aroma and taste
The flavor of cinnamon is due to an aromatic
essential oil that makes up 0.5% to 1% of its
composition. This essential oil is prepared by
roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in sea
water, and then quickly distilling the whole. It is
of a golden-yellow color, with the characteristic
odour of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste. The
pungent taste and scent come from cinnamic aldehyde
or cinnamaldehyde (about 90% of the essential oil
from the bark) and, by reaction with oxygen as it
ages, it darkens in colour and forms resinous
compounds. Other chemical components of the
essential oil include ethyl cinnamate, eugenol
(found mostly in the leaves), beta-caryophyllene,
linalool, and methyl chavicol.
Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and
flavoring material. It is used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico, which is the main
importer of cinnamon. It is also used in many dessert recipes, such as apple pie, doughnuts, and
cinnamon buns as well as spicy candies, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, and liqueurs. True cinnamon, rather than
cassia, is more suitable for use in sweet dishes. In the Middle East, it is often used in savoury dishes
of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals,
bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples; a cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for
such purposes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices
that can be consumed directly. Cinnamon powder has long been an important spice in Persian cuisine,
used in a variety of thick soups, drinks, and sweets. It is often mixed with rosewater or other
spices to make a cinnamon-based curry powder for stews or just sprinkled on sweet treats (most
notably Shole-zard, Persian شله زرد). It is also
used in sambar powder or BisiBelebath powder in Karnataka, which gives it a rich aroma and unique
taste. It is also used in Turkish cuisine for both sweet and savoury dishes.
Cinnamon has been proposed for use as an insect repellent, although it remains untested. Cinnamon
leaf oil has been found to be very effective in killing mosquito larvae. Of the compounds found in
the essential oil from cinnamon leaves, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, and anethole, and in particular
cinnamaldehyde, were found to have the highest effectiveness against mosquito larvae.
History of Cinnamon