Cassia or ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is an evergreen tree from the laurel family. The bark of this tree is the popular spice, cinnamon. This spice is native to Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, and also cultivated in South America. The spice consists of the dried inner bark with brown in colour. Cinnamon is known because of its delicately fragrant aroma, and its sweet warm flavour. Cinnamon is used to flavour various kinds of foods, from bakery, confections, curries, and even beverages. In Egypt, cinnamon is used for embalming and religious practices. Cinnamon could be distilled into essential oil from the bark fragments for use in foods, liqueur, perfume, and drugs.
Cinnamon bark is obtained from cinnamon trees for about three years after cultivation. This bark is harvested twice a year after each of the rainy seasons because humidity makes the bark peel easier. After harvesting, the barks are scraped with a semicircular blade and then rubbed with a brass rod to loosen the bark and then split with a knife and peeled. The peels are telescoped one into another forming a quill and filled with trimmings of the same quality bark to maintain a cylindrical shape. The compound quills are placed on coir rope racks and dried in the shade to prevent warping. Four or five days later, quills are rolled on a board to tighten the filling and then placed in subdued sunlight for further drying. Cinnamon quills then bleached with sulfur dioxide and sorted into grades. After these process, cinnamon quills are cut into pieces and packed in moisture-proof polypropylene bags and ready to be distributed.
The quality of cinnamon is judged by the thickness of the bark, the appearance whether the quill is broken or not, aroma, and the flavour. Sri Lanka grading system divide quills into four main groups, based of the quills diameter:
Basically, cinnamon could be used in culinary, medicinal, and distilled into essential oil. In culinary, cinnamon is used in various dishes, from confections, curries, bakery, and beverages. While in medicinal uses, cinnamon is used as traditional medicine to treat digestive issues, diabetes, loss of appetite, and for treating bronchitis. Cinnamon in essential oil could be used for foods, liqueur, perfume, and drugs.
Cinnamon is categorized as spice due to its use.