Cinnamon is a wonderful spice that tastes not only terrific but also has many research-proven health benefits, including helping to control blood sugar, stopping yeast infections, helping eliminate arthritis pain, easing PMS discomfort and stimulating mood and mental cognition, to name a few. Yes, surprise, surprise, cinnamon has antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and the manganese it contains has a lot to do with it.
As a spice, cinnamon is used primarily for cooking, and it adds great flavor and smell to baked goods as well. It is one of those spices that go with a variety of ingredients, but especially with orange and honey. You can use the whole cinnamon stick or break it into small pieces, so the aroma and flavor come out. You can also grind it and mix it into whatever you are making like you can mix it into a batter when baking cookies or a cake. When using cinnamon, be sure it’s Ceylon cinnamon, not Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is about 5 percent coumarin, a toxin. Ceylon cinnamon is only about .05 percent coumarin. Also, if the cinnamon is the ground and processed kind from the supermarket, it’s not likely to have its therapeutic benefits left, so stick with cinnamon sticks if possible!
Ways to enjoy cinnamon while reaping the health benefits.
- Make cinnamon stick tea – Add a stick to your coffee or tea. To extract the most cinnamon, add the cinnamon first and boil the coffee or tea slowly with the added cinnamon. Cozy up with a good book or movie on your laptop, a warmed-up nice smelling heat pack, and your tea and enjoy the soothing, calming, healing benefits.
- Add a cinnamon stick to rice as it’s cooking – Ceylon cinnamon gives a subtle, sophisticated flavor and scent. Add half a teaspoon of turmeric, too. It will make the rice yellow and even more delicious.
- Add cinnamon to curries – A stick of cinnamon in Asian curry adds warmth and depth to the dish, especially for beef or chicken curry.
- Add ground cinnamon to cleansing lemon water in the morning – Squeeze half a lemon, add a dash of cayenne and a dash of cinnamon to a glass of water. Add maple syrup to taste. Refreshing, cleansing and a great way to start the day.
- Enjoy our favorite, delicious Ceylon cinnamon rice dish – It’s perfect for parties with its amazing aroma. Unlike Cassia cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon is not spicy but mild and fragrant and creates a fusion of flavor and an aroma that is subtle and sophisticated.
Ceylon Cinnamon and Lemon Grass Rice
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
- 2 cups rice
- 3 cups water
- 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks, 3 inches each
- 100 grams cashew nuts
- 2 oz. raisins
- 2 oz. green peas
- 9 oz. shrimp (small size)
- 2 onions (diced)
- 2 oz. butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 2 cloves
- 1 piece fresh lemon-grass or 1 tbs. frozen lemon grass
- Cook the rice with one cinnamon stick.
- Fry shrimp while rice is cooking: Add oil to a large pan, heat and fry shrimp until brown. Crispy is best. Remove shrimp.
- Add cashew, raisins, green peas, cloves, the second cinnamon stick and lemon grass to pan and fry in two tablespoons of vegetable oil for about five minutes or until onions are brown.
- Add rice and shrimp to pan, mix well and heat for another three to five minutes, stirring frequently. Break up the rice and mix it well.
The flavor is enhanced if the mixed rice is kept for about six hours and then reheated before serving on the stove or in the microwave.