As the song says, the majority of the current Mexican population is of mestizo ethnicity, and just as tasty, strong and warm is one of our favorite spices: cinnamon.
From tree to spice
This seasoning, although not of Mexican origin, has been adopted by our gastronomy in countless sweet and savory dishes. Originally from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), it is now cultivated in many tropical countries; Indonesia, China and Vietnam are the main producers, leaving Sri Lanka in fourth place.
In Mexico, it is cultivated in certain areas of Chiapas and Veracruz, since the climate of these places is appropriate for it to prosper, thanks to the fact that it is humid tropical and maintains temperatures above 25oC.
This evergreen tree grows up to 13 meters tall, and the seasoning we know as canelaw2 comes from its bark; it is removed every two years, the outer layer is scraped off and allowed to dry; With the help of the hands of the worker, during this process it shrinks and takes on the shape we know, like a branch.
Cinnamomum verum was described by the Czech chemist, botanist, zoologist, geologist, mineralogist and paleontologist Jan Svatopluk Presl in 1825.
The generic name Cinnamomum comes from the Greek Kinnamon or Kinnamomon, meaning sweet wood. The specific epithet verum is derived from the Latin "verus, vera, verum" which means true, to distinguish it from other species of Cinnamomum from which a similar but lower quality product is obtained.
Such is the case of Cassia or Chinese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamomum Cassia); although they are very similar, Cassia is less aromatic, has a more pungent flavor (similar to that of pepper), while Ceylon cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon has a more subtle flavor and it is more fragrant. The first is usually used for savory dishes and the second for sweets.
How to differentiate one from the other? Cassia cinnamon is rolled like a parchment, ending with two edges pointing inward, plus it is harder and thicker. Ceylon, on the other hand, is brittle and rolls up in thin layers, and is lighter in color.
- Whether Ceylon or some other variety, they share many health benefits. We share some of these with you:
- Stimulates salivary secretion and glandular activity. It is effective against dyspepsia, insufficient gastric juices, gas and nausea.
- Mitigates diarrhea thanks to its astringent effect and regulator of the intestinal flora.
- It is known to be anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal and anticancer.
- It acts on the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides when consumed regularly.
- It has antioxidant properties that prevent the damage caused by free radicals to cells, thus reducing oxidative stress and improving learning and memory, being able to provide protection against Alzheimer's disease, dementia and Parkinson's disease.
- Protects heart health; It contains compounds that cause arteries to relax and blood to flow more easily, and help keep blood pressure low.
In addition to its multiple benefits, cinnamon is a sustainably grown plant, like bamboo; trees grow quickly, as well as branches when cut.This and more are enough reasons to always have it in the pantry, from using it in tea to incorporating it into our traditional Mexican recipes
If, like us, you love to always have those basic ingredients in your pantry, don't hesitate to look for Don Zabor products at any Walmart, Superama, Bodega Aurrera, H-E-B, laComer and Alsuper, as well as at our new online store.