Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks
Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks
Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks, Cinnamomum verum, are also called Ceylon cinnamon, canela cinnamon sticks, or canela sticks.
Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks have an essential oil of .5% - 2.0%.
There are approximately four (4), 3” sticks per ounce.
What Are Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks
Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks have a soft and flaky bark that is lighter in color than Cassia Cinnamon, which is more familiar to a majority of Americans. Ceylon Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), and Ceylon is the preferred cinnamon in England and Mexico. Also known as canela, true or real cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is usually sold in quill form.
The botanical name for this tree, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, is derived from Sri Lanka's former name, Ceylon.
Where Is Our Ceylon Cinnamon From
What Does Ceylon Cinnamon Taste Like
Deeply complex, subtly sweet flavor reminiscent of citrus and cloves, with a nice warmth.
How Do You Use Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks
Ceylon Cinnamon is used frequently in English, Central American, Mexican, South American, and South Asian cooking. Throughout Europe and Mexico, Ceylon Cinnamon is the preferred cinnamon while in the United States, we tend to prefer cassia. In English cooking, Ceylon is found in sweeter dishes like fruitcakes, pastries, and stewed fruits. In Sri Lanka, it is a key spice for fiery hot dishes and in biryani. In Latin America, it's found in chocolate beverages and in Mexico it can be found in a variety of moles.
Cinnamon has been one of the most popular baking spices in many cultures for hundreds of years. Ceylon Cinnamon has a delicate, yet intense flavor that is ideally suited for breads, cookies, cakes, ice cream, pastries, cottage cheese and we also enjoy it in our morning oatmeal. Cinnamon Sticks are a terrific complement to hot drinks like cider, chai, tea, coffee and cocoa.
This cinnamon works best in recipes where there are not a lot of competing flavors, as it is a more delicate, nuanced, and complex flavor. It's favored for ice cream, custard, and pudding recipes. Try it with fruits like pears, apples, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
It goes well with vegetables like carrots, onions, spinach, butternut squash, or parsnips.
Ceylon Cinnamon pairs well with allspice, black pepper, cardamom, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
What Is a Substitute for Ceylon Cinnamon
You can substitute Ceylon Cinnamon for Cassia Cinnamon at a 1:1 ratio for any recipe, but beware that they do not share the same flavor profile so you may be in for a surprise! Cassia cinnamon is a little more intense than Ceylon and is often described as being the spicier of the two.
One 3" stick = 1/2 teaspoon ground Ceylon Cinnamon.
What Is the Difference Between Cinnamon and Ceylon Cinnamon
Cinnamon falls into one of two primary categories: Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. There are numerous similarities between the two. Both are harvested from the bark of a tree into a form that curls, known as sticks or quills. Both are used in cooking either ground or as whole quills.
Ceylon Cinnamon, also called true cinnamon or canela, is the more expensive and a harder to find type of cinnamon. Ceylon has a lighter, sweeter flavor than Cassia and is the preferred type of cinnamon in Europe and Mexico.
Cassia Cinnamon is what most Americans have in their spice cabinets and what is found in most grocery stores across the country. There are three primary types of cassia cinnamon — Indonesian, Vietnamese (sometimes referred to as Saigon), and Chinese — all with different levels of flavor, price points and availability. Indonesian cassia is the sweetest and most mild of the cassia cinnamons, and is the most common in America. Vietnamese cassia, is the most flavorful and is the preferred choice for cassia cinnamon aficionados. Chinese cassia has a strong, bitter flavor, very little demand, and a very limited supply.
The “best” type of cinnamon depends on the flavor profile you are trying to obtain. Ceylon is the choice if you want cinnamon that’s delicate, with a citrusy-floral aspect to lighten the woodsy notes or if you're making a traditional Mexican dish. Ceylon cinnamon is also the easiest to grind, if you want to do that at home. Chinese Cassia cinnamon has straightforward, up-front cinnamon flavor. Vietnamese cinnamon is bold and more aggressive and is often preferred if you are making cider, or baking cookies. Indonesian cinnamon is the sweetest and most approachable of the Cassia varieties and would be used if you will be making a savory Thai curry.
History of Ceylon Cinnamon
Cinnamon has a rich and storied history. A member of the family of laurel trees known as Cinnamomum, there are more than 250 distinct species of cinnamon, most of which share the characteristics of fragrant wood with spicy and peppery bark1. Cinnamon was one of the earliest known spices, with records of its use found in remote antiquity. It’s mentioned in the Biblical book Exodus, where it was used as an anointing oil2, and was also described as an ingredient in the aromatic ritual incense in ancient Egyptian funerary practices3. Closer scrutiny of historical documents and the language used calls into question long-held beliefs about the types of cinnamon used in these applications and from where Egyptians and Middle Easterners got their supply4.
We do know that cinnamon traders went to great lengths to protect their sources. They made up daring tales laced with danger regarding the search for cinnamon. According to the ancient Greek historian and author Herodotus (484-425 BC), giant, fierce birds known as the cinnamologus made their nests out of cinnamon and built them high in mountainous regions. To get the cinnamon, traders would coax the birds into taking oxen up to their nests, which would then shower down shattered remnants of cinnamon after the weight of the oxen caused the nest to break5. This sort of mythology may seem entertaining now, but the reality was, for more than 2,000 years most Europeans had no idea where cinnamon came from.
The Persian physician, astronomer, geographer and writer of Arab ancestry, Zakariya al-Qazwini wrote the first mention of Ceylon Cinnamon in his circa 1270 AD book, Monument of Places and History of God's Bondsmen6. Spices like cinnamon began making their way deeper into western Europe between the 5th and the 15th centuries AD, but the sources for the spice were still relatively unknown until the tail end of the 15th century. In 1498, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope and headed for India7, changing the face of global trade along the way.
The Portuguese traders that followed da Gama took control of the Sri Lankan cinnamon trade. They wrested it from Arabian traders and by 1506, entered into a demanding annual export agreement with the Kingdom of Kotte. This was the kingdom that governed Sri Lanka at the time, then called Ceylon. This agreement, requiring 11,000 kg, or just over 12 tons, of cinnamon, was wildly exploitative of the trees and people, leaving little cinnamon for anyone other than the Portuguese and putting them firmly in charge of the cinnamon supply8. The Dutch took notice of the profitability to be had in the spice trade and formed the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch were initially welcomed in Ceylon by the Kotte monarchy and these two peoples enacted a treaty between them that would compensate the Dutch for helping defend their land against the Portuguese. By 1658 the Portuguese were ousted from Ceylon; the Dutch East India Company then exacted even more ruthless methods to ensure a monopoly over cinnamon trading9. The Dutch retained control over Ceylon until the British fought them for control of the country and won, taking over rulership in 1796 and holding it until 190010. British colonizers built cinnamon plantations across Ceylon and upward into India, which caused exports to nearly double in only a few years. A combination of increased exports to the European market, and the influx of cassia from China, which was not as delicate but also not as expensive, caused the prices for Ceylon Cinnamon to fall and its command of the marketplace to disintegrate.
Ceylon Cinnamon is often considered to be a superior product and a higher quality, and people often point to the scientific name behind it as proof of that superiority. Ceylon Cinnamon was given the scientific name Cinnamomum zeylanicum, which perhaps unsurprisingly translates as “Ceylon Cinnamon”, but it is also synonymously called Cinnamomum verum, or “true cinnamon”. This is often taken to mean that Ceylon Cinnamon can boast an inherent superiority among cinnamons, but this is not true. Cinnamon as a genus was not defined until 1753, with cassia getting the early scientific notation11. Scientific names, though they can reflect particular characteristics of a plant, can also be named to commemorate a person, place, or situation. In the case of Cinnamomum verum, the name reflects the preference of the Europeans who were in charge of the naming. To them, the soft, crumbly cinnamon that came from a dominion governed by European rule was the real deal, and Asian cassia, though as true a cinnamon as any other, was inferior12. Cinnamomum verum is one part marketing and one part Eurocentrism, but it doesn’t reflect a species-specific superiority among types of cinnamon.
Ceylon Cinnamon Cultivation
In Sri Lanka cinnamon is grown in a wide range of conditions; it is a hardy plant and can be successfully grown in both semi-dry and wet zones, growing in soils as diverse as fine, silicate silver sand and loamy, gravelly soils. The ideal temperature for growing this semi-tropical plant is 68° - 86°F, with an average annual rainfall between 50 and 100 inches. Cinnamon does not grow as well in the drier low-country but thrives in the forest at 1000 - 1150 feet above sea level13.
Cinnamon plants are cultivated in nurseries for the first 4-6 months after germination before being transplanted outside. They’re planted about 4 feet apart if they’re on flat ground or about 3 feet apart if they’re on hillsides14. Cinnamon is grown as a bush and are kept at a height of about 6 feet. Once the plants reach two years of age, they are ready for their first harvesting. At that point, the cinnamon plant is “coppiced”, or cut low to the ground, and cut at a 30°, inward-facing angle around the base to encourage “tillering”, or lateral growth from the base that will, ideally, produce more shoots15. In another 1.5-2 years, the plant will be fully mature and ready for annual harvesting.
The bark is easy to remove immediately after the rainy season, or after soaking if the weather is not rainy16. Harvested sticks are transported to the peeling shed. Experienced peelers remove the bark in two equally long halves, and the thinner the peel, the better. Quills start to dry immediately, but are left to dry fully in the shade for several days17. The quills are then bundled and sent to exporters for grading.
90% of Ceylon Cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, with most cinnamon being produced on small holdings farms of less than 8 hectares18. Up to 350,000 Sri Lankan families make their livelihoods through the cinnamon industry19. This plant is also cultivated in Mexico, South America, Madagascar, India, and on an island in the east of Africa and the north of Madagascar called Seychelles.
|Also Called||Ceylon cinnamon, canela cinnamon sticks, or canela sticks|
|Recommended Uses||Use in biryani, breads, cakes, cookies, curries, fruitcakes, ice cream, moles, oatmeal, pastries, puddings, and stewed fruits|
|Flavor Profile||Deeply complex, subtly sweet flavor reminiscent of citrus and cloves, with a nice warmth|
|Oil Content||.5% - 2.0%|
|Botanical Name||Cinnamomum verum|
|Cuisine||English, Central American, Mexican, South American, and South Asian|
|How To Store||Airtight container in a cool, dark place|
|Shelf Life||1-2 years|
|Country of Origin||Sri Lanka|
|Dietary Preferences||Gluten Free, Kosher, Non-GMO|
Hungry for More Information
1. Hartvig, K. (2016). Healing spices: 50 wonderful spices, and how to use them in health-giving foods and drinks. Watkins Media.
2. Mihindukulasuriya, P. (2012) The Fragrance of Life: Cinnamon in the Bible Retrieved April 4, 2022.
3. Dasanayaka, R. (2019). Cinnamon: A spice of an indigenous origin - historical study. akayana- July-December. 45-57. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
4. Haw, S. G. (2017). Cinnamon, cassia and ancient trade. Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology, 4(1). Retrieved April 4, 2022.
5. Gershon, L. (2020, November 6). The desperate quest for American cinnamon . JSTOR. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
6. Cohen, B. (2021). The artisan herbalist: Making teas, tinctures, and oils at home. New Society Publishers.
7, 8, 9, 13, 15, 18. Ravindran, P. N., Babu, K. N., & Shylaja, M. (Eds.) (2019). Cinnamon and cassia: The genus Cinnamomum. CRC Press.
10. Encyclopedia Britannica Editors. (n.d.). British Ceylon (1796–1900). Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
11. South China Botanical Garden Staff. (n.d.). Cinnamomum cassia. South China Botanical Garden Herbarium . Retrieved April 4, 2022.
12. Klein, W. (2021, February 17). Plant of the month: Cinnamon. JSTOR Daily. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
14, 19. Suriyagoda, L., Mohotti, A. J., Vidanarachchi, J. K., Kodithuwakku, S. P., Chathurika, M., Bandaranayake, P. C., Hetherington, A. M., & Beneragama, C. K. (2021). Ceylon cinnamon: Much more than just a spice. Plants, People, Planet, 3(4), 319–336. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
16. Rathnayake, Z. (2021, October 18). Harvesting 'true cinnamon': The story of the Ceylon spice. Food | Al Jazeera. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
17. Varricchio, T., & Christian, E. (2021, March 30). A pound of cinnamon quills can cost $27 - here's why it's one of the most expensive spices. Business Insider. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
Serving Size1 stick
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*