By Valerie Lull
When the holidays come certain spices and herbs come to mind like peppermint, ginger and cinnamon. It makes me think of cinnamon buns, cinnamon breads, baked apples with cinnamon, cinnamon tea, coffee cake with cinnamon, apple pie with cinnamon, even cinnamon candy and chewing gum. Cinnamon seems to have unlimited uses in cooking and baking. For me cinnamon brings up visions of sitting by a fireplace all cozy with my cat and eating some delicious cinnamon treat.
There is an airline company called Cinnamon Air which will fly you to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is one of the places that cinnamon comes from. Cinnamon from Sri Lanka, c. verum is often called “true cinnamon”. It is a thin, smooth bark with a yellow-brown color and a fragrant aroma. The other popular cinnamon is cassia. This comes from China and Indonesia, and is the one used most in the United States. It has a strong, spicy flavor and is good for baking. Chinese cinnamon is a light reddish-brown.
Besides being good on the taste buds, cinnamon has many health benefits. One of the best known benefits is that cinnamon can aid in managing blood sugar. Additional health benefits include antioxidants that reduce damage from free radicals, anti-inflammatory properties, managing cholesterol levels and high blood pressure, and helping prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and cancer.
Some toothpaste contain cinnamon because it protects against microbes that cause bad breath, tooth decay and cavities. Cinnamon essential oil can be used like a natural mouthwash that kills bacteria. Cinnamon is used for flavoring chewing gums that help keep the breath fresh.
Here is a recipe for a cinnamon holiday tea.
6 cups water
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 (inch) piece cinnamon stick
6 tea bags
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sweetener
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 Tbls. lemon juice
Pour water in a pot and add cloves and cinnamon stick. Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Add tea bags to water and set aside to steep until the tea is to your liking, at least 5 minutes. Remove and discard cloves and cinnamon stick and tea bags.
Stir orange juice, sugar, pineapple juice, and lemon juice together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook and stir until the sugar or sweetener dissolves. Pour juice mixture into the spiced tea and serve hot. Enjoy!