Spices: Celebrating Cinnamon
By the end of September it seems that people of all ages have started the new school year, apple harvest is half-way over and Summer turns to Fall. September is the month I start burning “fall” candles. Browse the scents from just about any candle manufacturer and you’ll likely find some combination of Cinnamon & Apples. It’s like fresh-baked apple pie without the baking, but also without the pie so it’s a tradeoff, but I have a solution.
You don’t need to bake a pie to enjoy eating the flavors of apples & cinnamon. Simply cut up an apple, sprinkle cinnamon on top, toss together and ENJOY! Simple and extremely delicious. If you like apples & you like cinnamon, you won’t be disappointed. Although you might be disappointed that you didn’t discover this sooner.
A few reasons to enjoy Apples:
- In most places apples are available year round,
- Apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavonoids, & dietary fiber,
- They grow in many flavors & textures (granny smith, honeycrisp, gala, fuji etc.)
- Are extremely portable, and
- Can be eaten as is, cooked, made into sauce or baked into a pie
Did you know that Cinnamon comes in several varieties too, each with their own unique “cinnamony” characteristics? There are typically 2 types: Ceylon and non-Ceylon. Ceylon cinnamon is also known as Mexican (C) cinnamon – think “Mexican Hot Chocolate”. Interestingly, Ceylon cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka (90%), India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. The non-Ceylon varieties have a higher oil content. There’s Chinese/Cassia cinnamon think “Chinese 5 Spice”, Vietnamese/Saigon cinnamon think “Costco”, and Indonesian/Korintje cinnamon. Due to it’s lower oil content, the Ceylon cinnamon is typically the best choice for baking as it flavor tends to compliment as opposed to overwhelm. However, the Indonesian & Vietnamese cinnamon are more prevalent in North America due to the cost. Once cinnamon is ground it starts to lose its potency and, from what I have learned in my on-line research, it’s flavor is best within the first 6 months, but the potency & flavor will be relatively close to “new” for 6-12 months from the best before/sell by date.
Check out these Cinnamon Resources:
Local Spicery – I recently visited this adorable spice shop and met the owner. The amount of items they sell is overwhelming so I settled on a brief discussion on the different types of cinnamon. (I left with a jar of whole “all spice” berries, but that will be a future post).
The Local Spicery sells all kinds of spices, herbs & seasonings. I’ve included the link to their “cinnamon” page. However, click on the link for each item them sell, and they include descriptions of the item, as well as the origin, uses AND recommended recipes w/links. For example, if you have a seasoning or spice that want a recipe for, you can search for it on their site, click the item and you’ll have a new recipe to try.
Cinnamon Hill – an informative blog and a store, harvest cinnamon twice a year, based in the UK (from what I can tell)
Cinnamon Vogue – online store, all things cinnamon – informative, too, based in Las Vegas, Nevada
NOTE: Apples pair well with pork. Who remember the “Pork Chops and Applesauce” episode from the TV show The Brady Bunch? Not all of my family members are applesauce connoisseurs, plus homemade apple sauce is easy but takes a little longer than cutting up apples & mixing them with cinnamon. Since we typically have apples and always have cinnamon a quick & easy side dish to help fill the tummies of my 3 teens are, you guessed it, Cinnamon Apples, which was the true inspiration for this post.
Marble Pastry Board – 16″ x 20″ by Sur La Table, available on Amazon
Kilner Spice Jar – UK company, but available on Amazon US
Apple Slicer/Corer – this is the one I would buy, but definitely get an all metal one (the 3 plastic handled apple corer/slicers we’ve had in the past have all cracked & broken within a few months)
Franciscan Apple Plate – made from 1040s to 1980s in American (Southern California originally), a few pieces now state made in China
Hazel Atlas Salad Bowl & Dishes (pink & gray set) – link is to sets I found on Pinterest
- Large Silver Apple
- Cutting Board – pack of 6 with 3 hanging on either side of a stand –
- Vietnamese Cinnamon
Raley’s – Candle (Pumpkin Apple Scent). Our local grocery store has a great seasonal section. Even though it is a small chain of stores, it’s still considered local so I feel good shopping there.