Will the real Cinnamon please stand up... (off-topic)

David Ehrlich idavide@sbcglobal.net
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 17:46:18 PST
If you have a well frequented Mexican grocery nearby, they sell true cinnamon, and it is usually cheaper than anywhere else.

One caution you should take, especially if buying say McCormick spices at a regular grocery -- they do not date their spices.  You might buy a jar of anis seed with no flavor whatsoever because it's a decade old.  Always test your spice before buying.  Even at Penzey's.

Is it possible that domestic cinnamon's fungicidal/pesticidal effect could be due to poisons such as coumarin?  In that case, true cinnamon, which is made from the inner bark of C. verum rather then the entire bark of C. aromaticum might be ineffective.

From: Jim McKenney <jimmckenney@jimmckenney.com>
To: Pacific Bulb Society <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 9:08:37 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Will the real Cinnamon please stand up... (off-topic)

We have the advantage of a Penzey’s store here in the neighborhood, and so
we’ve been enjoying “true” cinnamon for years. Take Mark’s advice and try
it: it does not taste like the cinnamon most of us are used to. For one
thing, the taste sensation is much milder, and it’s a different taste. I’ve
read that “cinnamon” in the UK, Mexico and Germany means “true” cinnamon, so
adjust recipes from those areas accordingly if you want the intended effect.
It’s not that “true” cinnamon is better; it’s just a different taste
experience. If you really like the cinnamon most of us grew up with, the
taste of “true” cinnamon will probably be a disappointment. On the other
hand,  as Mark points out, the Vietnamese Extra Fancy is an intensification
of the stuff most of us know and love.

Incidentally, Penzey’s prices for bagged herbs and spices (in contrast to
their prices for bottled ones) are often MUCH lower per unit volume or by
weight than the prices of the ones in grocery stores. Common things like
thyme, which approach $5 per 0.62 oz bottle in the grocery stores,  are sold
in plastic bags at $6.29 for four ounces: that’s a huge savings if you use
thyme as freely as I do. 

Other sources for inexpensive spices are the Indian stores or the aisle in
your grocery store which offers ethnic foods. Certain items which I use a
lot of, such as aniseed, are much less expensive there. One of our local
grocery stores briefly offered a line of Indian packed spices. The prices
for these were so much lower than the ones packed by the big name American
outfits that I stocked up on some and put them in the freezer. Ground
cardamom, which tends to be pricy, was very inexpensive. I bought one (while
the little voice in my head reminded me of the many books which say never
buy ground cardamom), took it home and tried it (great!) and went back for
more. I wasn’t the only one who caught on to this and these products soon
disappeared from the shelves, never to be replaced.  

Hmmm...maybe I'll make some cookies today.  

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone
7, where I have some fresh bay cuttings I'm about to stick in one of the
cold frames. 
My Virtual Maryland Garden http://www.jimmckenney.com/
BLOG! http://mcwort.blogspot.com/

Webmaster Potomac Valley Chapter, NARGS 
Editor PVC Bulletin http://www.pvcnargs.org/ 

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