All About Cinnamon Vs. Cassia

All About Cinnamon Vs. Cassia

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Did you know that the cinnamon in your spice cabinet is probably not true cinnamon, but an imposter known as Cassia? There are several related tree barks that are sold commercially as ‘Cinnamon’.

True Cinnamon
AKA: Baker’s cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, Soft stick cinnamon
Botanical Names: Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum verum
Plant Family: Laurel (Lauraceae)
Origin: Sri Lanka

- Almost exclusively from Sri Lanka
- The most complex flavour of all the ‘cinnamon’ species
- The bark of true cinnamon is relatively thin
- Hard to find for sale in most North American supermarkets

Cassia-Cinnamon
AKA: Bastard cinnamon
Botanical Names: Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum loureirii (Saigon cinnamon)
Plant Family: Laurel (Lauraceae)
Origin: Central Asia
Regions Of Cultivation: China, Vietnam

- The most commonly harvested cinnamon species
- Cassia is sold in America generically as cinnamon
- The flavour is simplistic and more intense than that of true cinnamon
- Almost impossible to grind at home, so if you need ground, by the powder

When we want punch and potency, we reach for cassia; for complexity and subtlety - grab the true cinnamon.

Vietnam produces a cassia-cinnamon called Saigon cinnamon: Cinnamomum loureirii. It has a high oil content which gives a very intense flavour. It can be an overwhelming, more intense version of Cassia from other sources.

-Both are great in savoury as well as sweet recipes. 
-Tomato based dishes are more tomato-ey if you add some Cinnamon
-BBQ rubs / sauces Chili


White Cinnamon
AKA: Canela (Spanish)
Botanical Name: Cinnamomum alba
Plant Family: Laurel (Lauraceae)
Origin: West Indies

This species is generally thought to be native to the West Indies, and was used culinarily by the indigenous peoples. The bark is thin, soft, and pliable like true cinnamon, with a white outer layer. The flavour is coarser than true cinnamon, with no complexity and a lower oil content than the Asian cassias. White cinnamon is not seen very often for sale outside the caribbean.

 

 

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