Cinnamon… more than what you’d think!

Cinnamon is a widely used spice in cuisine the whole world over.  It’s sharp, pungent flavour makes it the ideal choice when you are looking for something to warm you up from the inside out.  But did you know that it can actually be looked at as a medicine?  Extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree have been used in traditional medicine throughout the world for centuries.  There have been reports of cinnamon aiding in everything from lowering blood sugar to treating yeast infections to lowering cholesterol.  In traditional medicine cinnamon is considered a remedy for respiratory, digestive and gynecological ailments[1].  No wonder it is such a popular spice!

In native Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon is considered a remedy for respiratory, digestive and gynaecological ailments.   Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of trees from the genus Cinnamomum.   Almost every part of the cinnamon tree (including the bark, leaves, flowers, fruits and roots) has some medicinal or culinary use.  The volatile oils obtained from the bark, leaf, and root barks vary significantly in chemical composition, which suggests that they might vary in their pharmacological effects as well[2].  This overall usefulness may be one of the reasons why cinnamon is such a favoured ingredient in so many kitchens!

So are you using cinnamon in your cooking?  Why not?  It can be used in main course dishes, drinks, desserts… The best part is that its amazing warming properties make it ideal for this cold time of year.  Have you ever been to Puerto Rico?  They have a cinnamon drink that they use in place of eggnog for the holidays… but we think that you should drink it any time of the year when you are craving something warm and yummy.  This ever-so-yummy drink uses cinnamon to round off the flavours, making for a totally incredible drinking experience.  The drink is called Coquito.  Enjoy!

 

For the cinnamon syrup:

  • ¼ cup crushed cinnamon bark or 10 cinnamon sticks (use an intense cinnamon)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • ½ vanilla bean or 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coquito:

  • 1 (12-oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1 (12-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups rum (1 cup white rum and 1 cup aged rum)

For the garnish:

  • 1 tbsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1)      To make the cinnamon syrup: in a medium saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil to make simple syrup.  Add the cinnamon and vanilla in the water.  Let boil for 2 minutes, then sit for 1 hour, and strain

2)      To make the Coquito: in batches, combine the coconut, evaporated and condensed milks, slowly adding the cinnamon syrup.  Add the rums and mix well.  Transfer the mixture to a large plastic container and refrigerate overnight

3)       Prior to serving, use a blender to blend the coquito.  Serve chilled with freshly grated nutmeg

 

 

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