By Merriam-Webster’s definition, cinnamon is:
a : the aromatic, dried bark of any of several tropical trees (genus Cinnamomum) yielding a culinary spice, oil, and flavoring; especially: a small roll or quill of cinnamon bark.
b : the tan to dark brown spice that is prepared from cinnamon bark by powdering and has a somewhat sweet and spicy taste.
c : a tree that yields cinnamon
What’s interesting is that what you buy in stores thought to be cinnamon likely doesn’t come from a tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) of Sri Lanka and southern India, but instead one of several related trees such as cassia or loureirii. It’s still cinnamon as you know it, but this kind (the least expensive one) has a stronger and spicier character than the true cinnamon form found in Asia.
Now that the science and linguistics are out of the way…
There are many uses for cinnamon far beyond being a main ingredient in snickerdoodles. Have you ever used it for any of these reasons?
It’s Helpful As An Antioxidant Or Food Preserver
Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants like polyphenols. In fact, a study compared the antioxidant activity of over two dozen spices and cinnamon came out ahead of everything else, including superfoods like garlic and oregano.
Cinnamon is so powerful, it can even be used as a natural food preservative.
It Can Be A Natural Bug Repellent
To keep bugs away from your child while he or she plays in a sandbox, mix an entire canister of cinnamon into the sand. Bugs hate cinnamon – but we love it!
Cinnamon Chipotle Spice Popcorn
Move over, butter and salt!
Check out this recipe from saltandwind.com:
- 1/4 cup mild olive oil or ghee
- 3/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup canola, grapeseed, or coconut oil
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1 tablespoon unrefined cane sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Heat the olive oil or ghee in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the spices and remove from heat. (Spiced oil can be made up to 1 day ahead of time.)
2. Add a few popcorn kernels and the canola of coconut oil to a large (at least 4 quart) heavy bottomed pot and heat over medium-high heat.
3. Once the kernels have popped, add the remaining half cup of kernels, cover, and shake the pan over the heat constantly until there is a few second pause between popping and almost all the kernels have popped, about 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Transfer popcorn to a large bowl big enough to mix the popcorn. Mix the spiced oil well then drizzle half of it over half of the popcorn. Add additional popcorn and drizzle with remaining oil. Using your hands, mix through until the popcorn is evenly coated. Then sprinkle over sugar and salt and mix. Taste, adding more salt or sugar as desired and serve.