There’s nothing else like the fragrant sweet smell of cinnamon that says the holidays are coming. Cinnamon’s sweet flavor and woodsy fragrant aroma is both inviting and intoxicating. It is also very versatile and tastes yummy in desserts, holiday cookies, and savory dishes. And, can be used as an accent to complement all your holiday preparations. With a little creativity and imagine you can bake, decorate and tablescape using cinnamon for an extra special touch to your home this holiday season. You can even make a variety of homemade gifts to give to family and friends.
The facts about cinnamon
We did some research and before you begin to use this culinary treasure we dug deep to unearth a few facts about cinnamon that you might want to know.
- First, it is one of the oldest spices known to man. Its origin goes way back to Egypt as early as 2000 BCE when it was imported from China. The Egyptians prized the spice so much so that they used it to preserve their dead.
- Second, it comes from the bark of several different types of evergreen trees from the genus Cinnamomum. It doesn’t grow on trees it is the tree. To form cinnamon the bark is shaved from both the inner and outer portions of the trees. After the tree is shaved the bark curls into “quills”.” At this point it is either ground into powder or cut into sticks.
- Third, there are two types: Ceylon and Cassia. In the U.S. approximately 75 percent of the cinnamon we use is cassia. The remaining 25 percent is Ceylon originating from the tiny island of Sri Lanka.
- Fourth, it is good for your health. In ancient times it was known for its medicinal attributes. Today, that is still true. It ranks #1 when it comes to protective antioxidant levels. Additional benefits include its ability to fight type 2 diabetes, lower your “bad” cholesterol (LDL), and protect your heart. It can also lower the risk of getting cancer.
Holiday sweets and scrumptious breakfast treats
Cinnamon is a major ingredient in many holiday sweets such as cookies, pumpkin and apple pie, and let’s not forget cinnamon rolls. There’s nothing like getting up on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning to the smell of freshly-baked rolls or French toast. And, for a scrumptious Christmas breakfast treat add it to your cereal, yogurt or granola. But, if you want to break the mold and go bold add both chocolate and cinnamon to your holiday morning Joe. Or, in the spirit of the season make a variety of treats such as chocolate covered pretzels, sugared spiced pecans, honey butter, gooey caramel popcorn with cinnamon. And, don’t forget chocolate swirl marshmallows. Then, wrap your homemade creations in pretty glass containers, boxes or colorful tins with ribbons for the perfect holiday gift.
It’s beginning to smell like Christmas
Make your home feel warm this holiday season with the fragrant smell of cinnamon. When decorating and tablescaping with cinnamon it is best to purchase it in bulk. Three-inch sticks are available by the pound online through Amazon and in the store at Wal-Mart. However, if you go to Bulk Apothecary you can choose different lengths of sticks by the ounce or pound. This online supplier of natural ingredients and essence oils has reasonable prices.
It is very simple to decorate using cinnamon sticks. Scatter them on your holiday table or add them to a candle display with pine cones and dried fruit. Or, make your own Christmas potpourri. To make a quick Christmas ornament wrap the sticks with floral wire in bundles of three or more with a plaid tartan ribbon. You can also wrap them around a candle and tie with a ribbon to display on your coffee table or in your bathroom. Spread the scent throughout your home and add cinnamon sticks to a store-bought wreath for a simple holiday craft. And, the list goes on. With the versatility of this flavorful sweet spice let’s just say that this holiday season the possibilities are endless.
Have a very merry holiday season!