How to Purchase Ceylon Cinnamon

Surprise your honey by using Ceylon cinnamon to make fancy desserts.

Surprise your honey by using Ceylon cinnamon to make fancy desserts.

Ceylon cinnamon is rarer, more aromatic and usually more expensive than the more common cassia cinnamon that you find in any grocery store. This rarer spice is derived from the dried bark of the evergreen Cinnamomum zeylanicum tree in the Lauraceae family. It's often referred to as true cinnamon. "The Los Angeles Times" reports that cinnamon has been so important in human history that wars have been fought over the spice. Luckily, you and your hubbie don't have to go to such extremes to get your hands on Ceylon cinnamon.

Check out the imported spices section at the market. Ceylon cinnamon comes from the island of Sri Lanka, which was formerly known as Ceylon. Specialty stores may be your best bet, but start simply at the shops you already know.

Look for cinnamon quills, which are also known as cinnamon sticks. The majority of Ceylon cinnamon sold in the United States is sold in stick form, while many powdered forms of cinnamon are from the cassia variety. Still verify that the stick is Ceylon cinnamon before purchasing it.

Observe the properties of the cinnamon before buying it. True cinnamon has a paler, tan color than cassia. It also has a more crumbly texture and a flavor that's distinctly more delicate. Smell it, too. Ceylon cinnamon contains eugenol, the chemical that gives cloves their strong scent.

Search in alternative medicine and health boutiques. Chinese traditional medicine has utilized true cinnamon for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Ayurvedic medicine prizes the spice for its antimicrobial qualities that support the immune system. While it's important to consult a traditional doctor before trying any alternative treatment, shop in holistic centers for Ceylon cinnamon.

Try your luck online. With dozens of online stores devoted entirely to spices from around the world, the possibilities are numerous. Be sure to verify the legitimacy and the history of any online business with the Better Business Bureau and the Who Is database. Be sure to check valid customer reviews before trusting that it is Ceylon cinnamon that you are purchasing.

Tips

  • Store your true cinnamon in a cool, dry place within an airtight container after your purchase. Discard this spice after a year because it will then have lost much of its potency.
  • Talk to your doctor about the proper amount of cinnamon to consume to potentially help manage Type 2 diabetes if it's a health concern of yours. The USDA published a study that shows it may be helpful for the condition.

Warning

  • Don't be afraid to ask for assistance at the store. Some markets keep Ceylon cinnamon in a special section so as to not confuse this type of cinnamon with the more common variety. If you ask for it, though, you may find that even mainstream stores have it in stock.
 

About the Author

Robin Raven was first published in 1998. She has contributed to newspapers, magazines and online publications, including "The Malibu Times," "Act'ionLine" for Friends of Animals, USA Today Travel Tips and the official Melissa Gilbert website. Raven specializes in travel, health, beauty, culture, vegan nutrition, joyful living, arts and entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in writing.

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