Ceylon cinnamon is true cinnamon, and it has a thin, multi-layered bark and a sweet, warming, delicate taste and aroma (in contrast to cassia cinnamon, which is spicy and peppery). Use it in sweet and savory dishes. The sticks are soft enough to be freshly ground with a spice grinder or fine grater.
Species: Cinnamomum verum
Other names: sweet cinnamon, true cinnamon
Appearance: The thin, multi-layered bark of true cinnamon is most often a redish brown. The bark is curled in on itself as it is dried and cured. The ground Ceylon Cinnamon is light brown, with a slight tint of red.
Typically used: The dried bark is used whole or powdered, and the twigs and leaves are distilled into an essential oil.
Origin: Ceylon cinnamon is cultivated from the inner bark of the evergreen tree, Cinnamomum verum. Native to Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon), Bangladesh, Burma, and the south-eastern coast of India, the spice has been considered a gift fit for gods and has been traded for centuries.
Flavor: Sweet, warming, delicate (in contrast to Cassia Cinnamon, which is warming and somewhat spicy and/or peppery)
Aroma: Sweet and somewhat pungent
Culinary uses: Ceylon cinnamon is used in both sweet and savory dishes. It has been popularized in the United States as the perfect pairing for apples. The sticks are soft enough to be easily ground in a coffee or spice grinder. In Mexico, Ceylon cinnamon is used in chocolate, and in the Middle East the spice can be found in savory meat dishes.
Other uses: Cinnamon is used in perfumes, cosmetics, cordials, potpourris, incense, tinctures, and essential oils.
Ceylon vs. Cassia: Cassia bark can be described as hard, thick, and rough in comparison to Ceylon Cinnamon. Cassia is more tan than reddish brown. When dried, Cassia Cinnamon sticks appear as a single thick layer that curls in from two sides, whereas Ceylon Cinnamon has many layers that usually curl altogether.