Are you using the right cinnamon in your cooking?

IMG_20160624_121151132[1]Many people really adore using cinnamon in their cooking as it adds an extra touch of sweetness to their recipes. It also occupies a special place in traditional treatments as people believe that cinnamon mixed with honey when taken will cure many general health ailments. However, we need to be very cautious while using it in our dishes as we are hearing many conventional stories about their fake types. Distinguishing between good and bad really becomes hard if it is in powdered state. So instead of using bottled or packaged ground cinnamon, it is better to use sticks, and powder them when required.

Types of Cinnamon

Cassia Cinnamon –

Cassia CinnamonFake cinnamon also called as Cassia, Chinese or Saigon Cinnamon is mostly grown in countries like Indonesia, Laos, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. It is really easy for everyone to get fooled by the duplicate ones as it looks more thicker and brighter red in color. As you can see in the adjacent pictures, sometimes, the sticks are grated and bleached to look thin and natural like the real ones. Unless we are well versed in judging the right sticks, we may end up using the fake ones which are really dangerous to our health. Cassia contains high content of Coumarin (organic chemical compound that naturally exists in some plants) which is almost 1200 times higher in amount than the real ones. Prolonged consumption of coumarin in higher quantities turn out to be toxic, resulting in serious damage of liver & kidneys and may even lead to cancer. Generally, these sticks are lot cheaper than the real variety and is commonly sold in the super markets in loose or packed form.

Ceylon Cinnamon –

Ceylon CinnamonGrown exclusively in Sri Lanka, Ceylon Cinnamon looks thin, light brown in color on both sides, and tastes really sweet when chewed. These sticks are available from the plant Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, have soft texture and contains several folds like a cigar. It contains only 0.0004% of coumarin when compared to 5% of cassia variety, which makes it less harmful and more beneficial for health. It acts as a good medicine especially for reducing diabetics, cholesterol issues and obesity problems.

How to differentiate between fake and the real ones?

It is not that hard to differentiate between these two varieties once you read the following differences and go through the adjacent pictures.

Cassia Cinnamon Ceylon Cinnamon
Commonly available in super markets at a very inexpensive price. Not commonly found. Very expensive variety.
Native to countries like Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Mostly originated from Sri Lanka.
Hard &rough in texture. Pungent &spicy taste. Not easily broken. Soft &thin texture, sweet in taste. Easily breakable.
Reddish dark brown in color. Rolled up into only few layers. Tan in color. Has multiple layers – looks like a cigar.
Contains 5% of coumarin. Contains only 0.0004% of coumarin.
Harmful for kidneys &liver when taken daily or regularly. Recommended for regular use because of several health benefits.

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