Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
Cinnamon is an evergreen perennial with spirally arranged, broad laminated dark green leaves Under natural conditions; the plant grows to a height of 10 - 15m with a girth of 30-50cm. When coppiced from time to time it could be maintained as bush of 2-2.5m height with multiple stems arising from its base.
English : Ceylon Cinnamon, True Cinnamon,
French : Cannelle
German : Ceylonzimt, Kaneel
Italian : Canella
Sinhalese : Kurundu
Cinnamon quills /Full tube, Cinnamon chips,
Cinnamon ground / Powder
When the bark colour, turn into brown the stems are mature enough for harvesting. In a well managed cinnamon garden, harvesting ( Coppicing) could be done twice in a year. After been removed tops and branches, Harvested sticks are carried to the peeling shed. First outer corky tissues were scraped, and then peelers rub a brass rod for bark to be loosened from hard wood. Then Peeling is done with a special small round knife. Cinnamon barks are joined together by overlaps and hollow of which has been filled with smaller pieces, to form 106.7cm (42in) long cinnamon quills. Quills are air drying indoors for about few days may be up to a week.
The next year, about a dozen shoots will form from the roots. These shoots are then stripped of their bark, which is left to dry. Only the thin (0.5 mm) inner bark is used; the outer woody portion is removed, leaving meter-long cinnamon strips that curl into rolls ("quills") on drying; each dried quill comprises strips from numerous shoots packed together. These quills are then cut into 5–10 cm lengths for sale.
Special note on Cinnamon and cassia
Due to the presence of a moderately toxic, carcinogenic component called coumarine in CASSIA ,European health agencies have recently warned against consuming large amounts of cassia. Coumarin is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations. True Ceylon cinnamon has negligible amounts of coumarin.
True Cinnamon (on the left) and
Indonesian Cinnamon /Cassia (burmannii,)
quills (Cinnamomum burmannii) side-by-side
The name cinnamon is correctly used to refer to Ceylon cinnamon, also known as "true cinnamon (from the botanical name C. zeylanicum). However, the related species, Cassia (C. aromaticum), Saigon Cinnamon (C. loureiroi), and C. burmannii are sometimes sold labeled as cinnamon, sometimes distinguished from true cinnamon as "Chinese cinnamon", "Vietnamese cinnamon", or "Indonesian cinnamon.
The two barks, when whole, are easily distinguished, and their microscopic characteristics are also quite distinct. Cinnamon sticks (or quills) have many thin layers and can easily be made into powder using a coffee or spice grinder, whereas cassia sticks are much harder.