Cinnamon is harvested from the bark of Asian evergreen trees that are 25 years or older. There are two types of tree bark that can be used, cinnamon (cinnamomum verum) and cassia (cinnamomum aromaticum). Both have similar flavors but can be distinguished when tasted in comparison.


Cassia is commonly referred to as cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon and is most likely what is available at grocery stores in the United States unless the packaging says otherwise. Cinnamon, also referred to as true cinnamon, ceylon cinnamon, canela or real cinnamon, is more delicate than cassia in both texture and flavor. 


Both are incredibly useful in the kitchen, cassia is heartier and has a stronger flavor that matches well well baked goods like cinnamon rolls and pies. In dishes where delicate flavors may be lost use cassia instead. True cinnamon has a deep vanilla flavor that does well when there is little else competing with it. Try true cinnamon in sauces and simple fruit crisps where the flavor can be highlighted. 


Cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar, boost immune function and could help reduce cramping.

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