Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Gingerbread Waffles
I've learned that there are a number of different kinds of vanilla beans and each imparts a flavor all its own or so the Internet says. I've only tried Madagascar Bourbon and Mexican. So you shouldn't be surprised that I delved into the different types of cinnamon when I needed to order some more. It was because Allison's Pantry had two to choose from. One more expensive than the other. Can't you just see my brain cocks a whirling? Yup, I had to know why the price difference and if it was like vanilla, they each having a different flavor.

I'm hoping like vanilla, I'll like the cheapest kind as yes, I ordered both kinds. After all, one was $7.99 and the other $4.99. It wasn't like I was going to break the bank over the adventure and I love cinnamon along with doing a great deal of baking. Hence I order my spices in bulk. I then fill my over sized plastic spice container and with the rest I use a Seal a Meal to lock in the freshness of the remaining spice in the original package.

I didn't research this subject to death, it is unusual of me, I know. Instead, I simply lit upon the McCormick, the spice companies site and was satisfied. After all, taste would be the final deciding factor anyway as to what I'll continue to order in the future.
Graham Crackers

What I learned from McCormick was that cinnamon grows in the tropics, which keeps it off my do it yourself list. And though I can NOT grow it myself I do not pay pay the premium prices asked for when you buy spices in the tiny little tins or are they all in plastic bottles now? No, I don't visit the spice section of the stores in our area. I became so disgusted that they didn't have what I considered basics, that I've avoided them when ever possible. Maybe in your area things are different. I suspect they are in our daughter's town where the education level of the community and culinary interest goes far beyond factory pre-mixed.

That's why I buy most of my spices in bulk, even those I don't use quite as often like cloves. I realize that spices not used quickly enough loose their potency.


Leaves and flowers 1 -2 years

Seed and barks 2-3 years

Root 3 years

Ground Spices

Leaves 1 year
Seed and barks 1 year

Roots 2 years

Apple Cinnamon Waffles

With the exception of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, etc. I buy my spices as leaves, flowers, and seeds so they last quite a spell. With the Seal a Meal, I figure they go beyond the above dates for freshness. Someday, I plan on seeing if grating my own cinnamon, ginger etc. makes that much difference. But right now I've got a list of Want To Learn and Do's that will keep me busy for quite some time not to mention all the things I learned last year that I want to perfect.

Now I'm not saying that the desire might not one day be shoved to the top of the list. It might just be ignorance keeping me from doing so and one of you might just convince me to move it to the top - who knows. But for now I have a good supply of spices that will last me a couple years. That is after my Allison's Pantry order comes.

So what I learned from the site was that cinnamon grows in the tropical highlands of Sri Lanka, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.

Lankan cinnamon - comes from a small, young tree and has a very thin bark that releases a mild flavor with a citrusy note. It is not common in the U.S.A. Hence, this is not one of those I ordered.

Vietnamese cinnamon is from a large, older tree and yields a stronger, bolder taste profile similar to cinnamon red-hot candies.

Indonesian cinnamon, also known as Korintji, has a delicate flavor - warm and sweet with a touch a spicy. Indonesian cinnamon is what most Americans have enjoyed since childhood and is one of those I ordered. It grows prolifically in the majestic volcanic mountain ranges of Western Sumatra. Korintji is actually the name of a famous volcanic mountain that still has cinnamon trees growing wild. alongside newer, cultivated trees. This obviously is not a new flavor of cinnamon that I will be trying and it was the less expensive variety.

Vietnamese cinnamon, also known as Saigon, is the most coveted and exotic cinnamon available. ( I ordered this kind.) Exotic yeah, that's me. LOL The site said this kind was well worth the try. Saigon cinnamon has double the amount of volatile oil of Korintji. The volatile oil is what delivers the flavor and aroma - higher content means greater intensity. Imagine what this will taste like in goat cream ice cream, yum...

Cinnamon Rolls in the dough stage

Now encase you too are wanting to try Saigon along with Korintji cinnamon the McCormick site has recommendations on how to use the two.

Korintji cinnamon, simply labeled "cinnamon" is ideal for snickerdoodle cookies, apple pie, pancakes, French toast, muffins, streusel cake, cinnamon dip for fruit, and spice rubs for chicken and pork.

Saigon cinnamon is best in dishes that have a more complex flavor, such as sweet potatoes, roasted vegetables, oatmeal raisin cookies. pecan pie, brownies, chocolate dessert, spiced cider, spiced nuts, steak rubs, marinades and vinaigrette, chili and stews.

Well that was and eye opener. Have you ever used cinnamon in chili or steak rubs? That somehow just doesn't seem right but then I consider my home grown steaks good enough to stand on their own. A little salt and pepper is all that ever graces ours. I'm probably ignorant on the subject but that's a research project for another day. Stay tuned. It will be another month before the order of cinnamon arrives.

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