The place I truly feel at home is the kitchen. Picking up a pan and throwing in a few ingredients comes as naturally as breathing to me. As a lover of all-things-foods, lately, I’ve become mindful of what, not just me, but everyone eats.
It got me curious about the primary ingredients of cooking – the spices. Each one of us has them sitting in our spice racks. So, why not learn more about them together?
In the coming months, I’ll talk about the ingredients we use every single day. From origin to benefits, from how-to-use them to inside tips, I cover everything; starting with my favorite cinnamon.
Dalchini: Peeling the Bark
Cinnamon isn’t new, rather it is ancient, as in, 27th Century B.C old. Since harvesting the inner bark of the evergreen tree isn’t child’s play, cultivators found an easier method. They cut back the plant when it’s about 2 years old, which makes it grow like a bush. Each year new shoots grow and used for cultivating cinnamon.
When it comes to cooking, there are 3 to 4 types of the piquant spice, but the known ones are Cassia and Ceylon. In stores, it’s Cassia you’re more likely to find. FYI, it is the stronger version and perfect for baking, whereas Ceylon has a fruity zing.
Why Use Cinnamon: The Paybacks of the Spice
Throw a little bit of cinnamon in any dish, and it goes from meh to addictive. But the enriching taste is not its only benefit. Chock full of calcium, vitamins A, B and C, iron, potassium and antioxidants, the sweet-spicy flavored spice is a wonder.
I’ve long used the warming spice in tea and coffee to ward off the freezing chill of winters. How does it warm the body? By stimulating blood circulation.
Besides the sweet taste and a powerful cozy punch, Ayurveda says the herb has special healing powers. It strengthens ojas. In words you and I understand, Ojas is the factor that promotes immunity and vitality. Not just that, cinnamon also increases metabolism, which improves appetite.
Ever wondered why cinnamon is used in so many desserts? No, it’s not the unique taste, though I won’t deny that is a plus. It’s because cinnamon keeps blood sugar in check. Years before science proved it our bodies innately knew that pairing the spice with sweet foods is best.
When you pair it with the right diet and workout, cinnamon helps manage weight. How? By acting as a digestive aid.
Cinnamon: A Quick How-To
My love for cinnamon blooms because it is just so easy to incorporate into the daily diet. Yes, I do adore baking cinnamon rolls, donuts and chocolate chip scones liberally powdered with cinnamon, but that’s on days the sweet tooth craving hits.
The rest of the time, when real-life is knocking, and I have been working from the crack of dawn to 0-dark-thirty, I add the comforting spice to plenty of dishes and beverages.
- Just a hint of it in the morning chai to boost the day.
- As a natural complement to a bowl of cold cereal or hot oatmeal.
- Mix it with honey and drizzle it on freshly sliced fruits.
- Perfectly sprinkled on wholegrain toast for an extra zing.A handful of teaspoons mixed in pancake or waffle batter.
Tasha’s Inside Tip
The cinnamon sticks (oh, by the way, they’re called quills) last longer than powder though I have noted that powdered cinnamon has a stronger flavor.