Gardening has been a lifelong passion for Wende and she’d like to share her passion with her readers. Follow her as she writes about her gardening adventures, lists tasks to do depending on the season, and gives easy to understand gardening advice.
We've been discussing cinnamon lately at our house, probably because we use it more during the holidays. That got me wondering - cinnamon comes from a plant of some kind, but what plant? I had to find out.
Cinnamon sticks, also called "quills" are the dried bark of a special genus of evergreen trees. There are two types of cinnamon, Cassia (Chinese), and Ceylon which is sweeter. The spice originally came from Ceylon, but currently the largest producer is Sri Lanka. It was so valued as a spice that in Roman times it was worth up to 15 times the value of silver. Its source was kept mysterious in the Mediterranean world for centuries by the middlemen who handled the spice trade, to protect their monopoly as suppliers. After the location became known, the battle for control over the Island of Ceylon between the Dutch and the Portuguese resulted in the Dutch gaining control and cultivating the wild trees and regulating the trade.
It is said that in remorse for killing his wife, Roman Emperor Nero ordered that a year’s supply of the city’s cinnamon be burned at her funeral, an expense that was too great for any regular funeral pyre.
Even though cinnamon has a very interesting past, and other spices and flavors in the modern world have taken away the high demand for the sweet spice, it is still widely used, especially to sweeten my hot apple cider! It has 1.4 grams of fiber in one teaspoon and is also a good source of calcium and iron.