Cinnamon is one of the most favorite and valued spices in the world and it is used as an amazing addition to both sweet and savory dishes. Nobody can resist the sweet and spicy aromatic cinnamon flavor, especially when winter comes.
Used since ancient times, people use cinnamon both for culinary and medical purposes. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian texts, as well as the Bible are full of references of cinnamon.
But where does cinnamon come from?
This wonderful spice comes from the internal auburn coat of the evergreen cinnamon tree originating from the tropical regions. The tree has dark green leaves which are aromatic as well.
There are two forms of cinnamon available: dried cinnamon sticks or quills, and ground powder cinnamon.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum) is a Lauraceae plant family member and contains around 2, 5000 cinnamon species. Its first cousins are bay leaves and avocado. In the USA and Europe, people usually use the Cassia cinnamomum type of cinnamon, which is sweeter and has a more powerful taste. People from Latin America, India and Asia, use the milder cinnamon called Cinammomum Verum.
The multiple health provisions of cinnamon
Cinnamon has a healing potential. It contains three essential oils all of which have active ingredients inside such as: cinnamyl acetate, cinnamyl acohol, and cinnamaldehyde.
- Cinnamaldehyde has the ability to prevent the formation of blood clots and decrease
- When it comes to destruction of microbes, cinnamon has been proven to inhibit microbial and fungal growth. A 2003 study has shown that several drops of cinnamon essential oil added to a carrot stew can prevent the growth of a pathogenic type of bacterial for more than 60 days.
- According to a research performed in humans and animals, cinnamon has the ability to regulate the blood sugar levels and decrease them with type 2 diabetes
- It is a powerful antioxidant, and prevents various diseases.
- Cinnamon and its aromatic scent enhance the mental capacities, another thing proven by science. People who want to boost their brain function, inhale it or chew it in form of a gum.
- Cinnamon supports colon and heart health, because of its manganese, calcium and fiber content.
- People use cinnamon when treating colds and flu since it has anti-bacterial warming qualities.
Did you know that you can grow your own cinnamon tree?
It has never been easier to grow and maintain cinnamon. If you choose to decorate your home interior with it, you should know that it thrives in dry and well drained acidic ground. It can grow to be 3 feet tall only, but if you prune it regularly or transfer it to a bigger pot, cinnamon can reach the height of 8 feet.
Cinnamon tree likes the sun, so it will thrive under full and partial sunshine.
In zones 9 and higher, it is possible to plant cinnamon tree outdoors, but in that case it will need fertilized sandy soil.
How is it propagated?
You can find the seeds inside the berry fruits which are covered with the pulp. You need to collect them, clean and dry them, and we advise you to plant them in a nursery right away. The seeds will need around 3 weeks to germinate.
You should transfer them into a pot in 4 months and then transplant them again outside or in a bigger container. As we mentioned, the size of the cinnamon tree depends on the size of the pot after you transfer it.
How to maintain cinnamon tree?
It requires just a little care and it will be grateful if you do a monthly care by pouring a liquid fertilizer when it is actively growing. Try to prune it during its harvest time as well.
There is a tendency of its roots rooting so water it regularly. The temperature should not be under 60 degrees, both for the inside and outside. Give your cinnamon tree a minimum of 2 years before you harvest the bark.
Afterwards, cut the steams back near the ground in order to boost new stem growths. Allow 4 of the new shoots to grow for the next 2 years and trim them to be straight. Gather the stems when they reach the height of around 3 meters and the width of 2-5 cm.
When can you gather cinnamon bark from the tree?
As we mentioned, wait for 2 years at least before you harvest the bark ( the young stick and full-grown wood).
If you please to bark from immature whips, try cutting them onto 3-inch pieces. Make a slice from end to end and peel if you want to loosen the rind. It will curl and that is totally normal.
Allow it to dry in an open and sunny location with lots of air circulation.
To acquire the bark from full-grown wood, cut the stems into 3 inch pieces and slice them from end to end, without cutting into the stem completely. You can soak the stems in some warm water to loosen the bark.
Scoop out the core and inner covering and let the remaining bark dry thoroughly. If you want to obtain a thicker stick, or the quill, put a couple of bark pieces together.
How to store cinnamon?
Keep it in a dry and cool indoor location in tightly closed containers.
So spice up your home or garden with this amazing plant and delight your friends with a glass of wine seasoned with cinnamon from your own tree.