New Food Friday – Saigon Cinnamon

1 Feb

Cinnamon, what would life be like without it? Stores are named after it: Cinnabon. Strippers are named after it: Cinnamon Buns. Musical groups are named after it: Cinnamon Chasers.

As you may know, cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree. It is one of the oldest known spices. Arab traders brought it from China in 1700 B.C.

It’s that spicy, aromatic, and sweet-hot spice that we love to add to dishes both sweet and savory. This New Food Friday is about Saigon Organic Cinnamon.

If you will recall, last week we (we?) were eating roots of trees (Yuca Root). This week we are eating the bark of trees. If I keep following this path, next week we (we?) could be eating leaves of trees or sap from trees! Perhaps my subconscious is still showing reverence to the almighty tree, after writing a post about the American blight-decimated chestnut tree!

Whatever the case may be, I couldn’t wait to finish using my regular (cassia) cinnamon so I could try my Saigon Cinnamon (which is still cassia cinnamon). Unfortunately, due to misinformation I received on the Internet, this is not the cinnamon I was looking for.

Let me explain. There are two types of cinnamon: one is called cassia cinnamon and the other is Ceylon cinnamon, the “true” cinnamon. I thought I was buying true cinnamon. I was not. In the States, what we know as cinnamon is really the bark of a cassia tree.

Brewster's Cassia - flowering tree

Brewster’s Cassia – flowering tree (Photo credit: Tatters:))

According to the, the definition of a cassia tree is a tropical Asian evergreen tree (Cinnamomum cassia) having aromatic bark used as a substitute for cinnamon.

English: Bark of Cassia siamia tree ocurring i...

Bark of Cassia siamia tree (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, as far as cinnamon goes, Saigon Cinnamon is absolutely delicious! If you shake some on your finger and taste it, it is sweet as if there was sugar mixed in with the cinnamon. This surprised me!

It has that wonderful zing to it and I’m sure you already know that the aroma is divine. It is hard for me to imagine how much better “true” cinnamon would be! But I will continue to be on the lookout for it!

True cinnamon comes from Ceylon from the bark of a true cinnamon tree.  However, since 1972, the island country known as Ceylon changed its name to Sri Lanka.

Tea plantation in Sri Lanka

Tea plantation in Sri Lanka (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is situated off the coast of India and is often referred to as the “teardrop of India.” This is due to its shape like a teardrop. To add to the name confusion, they still call the true cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon (and not Sri Lanka cinnamon). 

In this photo below, you can see the difference between Ceylon cinnamon (left) and Indonesian (cassia) cinnamon (right).

English: Ceylon cinnamon (cinnamomum verum) an...

Ceylon cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon (photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ceylon Cinnamon has citrus overtones and a rich buff color. It is less strong than cassia cinnamon, and lacks bite.  Ceylon cinnamon sticks are papery thin. It is the favorite cinnamon of both Europe and Mexico. It will shine in custard, cinnamon ice cream, Dutch pears, stewed rhubarb, steamed puddings, dessert syrups, or mixed into whipped cream.

According to the label of McCormick’s Organic Saigon Cinnamon,

Saigon Cinnamon Jar

Saigon Cinnamon Jar

it has been harvested from the central highlands of Vietnam and is the highest quality 100% organic cinnamon. That’s good enough for me! It was pricey as you can imagine. I think I paid over $4.00 for it for a 1.5 oz jar. It has a Best Buy date of October, 2014. It is long-lasting unlike many other spices which are best used within a 6-month period for optimum taste.

I decided to make cinnamon raisin bread with my Saigon Cinnamon. The results were great.

Cinnamon Loaves

Cinnamon Loaves

I baked two loaves on Tuesday and my house still smells like cinnamon. (You might want to remember this when the Christmas holidays come around, or if you want to sell your house!)  I love to pull apart a slice and “unwind” the curled bread. It brings out the kid in me, what can I say.

Cinnamon Loaf Sliced

Cinnamon Loaf Sliced

If you’ve never made cinnamon bread, you have to roll out the dough into a flat rectangle, brush with melted butter, and sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture over the whole thing. Then you sprinkle on the raisins.  Then you roll up the short end, or the end close to you, like rolling up a carpet.

Can you see in the photo where I began rolling up the dough? My recipe called for three eggs and I substituted two cups of white whole wheat flour for the white flour to make it more nutritious.

The recipe also called for a cinnamon, sugar, flour, butter, crumb topping which was just added work and totally unnecessary and then makes a mess when you slice it.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread is delicious toasted and buttered with or without jam for breakfast. I used to eat cream cheese and jelly sandwiches on raisin bread at school when I was a kid, which is very good! It’s also good made into French Toast although I haven’t tried that myself. I also like it plain as a snack while watching TV in the evening.

There are many cinnamon raisin bread recipes online and it is amazing that they are all different! Look for one that has a lot of good reviews or get one from a trusted site like Martha Stewart or Epicurious. Use whatever cinnamon you have on hand but if you are running out of cinnamon, try the Saigon Cinnamon. It’s very good! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


17 Responses to “New Food Friday – Saigon Cinnamon”

  1. Peri's Spice Ladle February 7, 2013 at 2:00 pm #

    When I saw your comment on cinnamon, I promptly remembered the new food friday post I’d bookmarked to read…Love this article and the pictures, Marcy…but my mouth is watering looking at the delicious cinnamon bread! I’d just toast it and have it plain (but then a little butter never hurt!)…So, I have two types of cinnamon in my pantry…ground cinnamon is always Saigon Cinnamon, one of the the best! And then I have cinnamon sticks from Kerela, the spice plantation of India, mom picked it up for me on her visit. They say its best to store cinnamon sticks in a muslin cloth bag:) Either way, you’re right cinnamon is super woman, sweet and deceptively strong…


    • Marcella Rousseau February 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm #

      Thank you! Yes, Saigon Cinnamon seems the most popular among the bloggers here ; – ) I have cinnamon sticks too but they are old I think. I think they are McCormick’s too. I’ll have to look! Thank you for your comment.


  2. terevel February 7, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    I am a cinnamon huge fan because of its scent, taste, and curative properties. I was used to Ceylon cinnamon because I am from Mexico and it is very common there.


    • Marcella Rousseau February 7, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Thank you so much for your comment. You mentioned in your other comment about your Amaranth Pie Crust that you were thinking of using the cassia cinnamon. If you try the Saigon cinnamon (cassia), please let me know which one you liked better or if you like them both.


  3. silverbells2012 February 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I love love cinnamon! Wish I have a functioning oven so I could make the cinnamon loaves 🙂


    • Marcella Rousseau February 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Wish I could share my cinnamon loaf with you! (I’ve already finished the first one.) What happened to your oven? You know, I recently bought a convection toaster oven and I love it! I don’t use my regular oven anymore. The convection heat cooks faster and uses less electricity since it is smaller than an oven. It would more than likely be cheaper to buy one than to have your oven fixed. I bought it online from Amazon. It’s an Oster digital. In fact, I wrote a review about it if you want more information:


      • silverbells2012 February 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

        Thank you, Marcella, for this information. I could make a cinnamon loaf in my breadmaker, if I think about it – I would just need to tweak the ingredients slightly.
        As for the oven, it came with the house and has never worked. I decided to wait and see how I was going to change my kitchen before I did anything about it, though I think, as the grill works, it can’t be anything too fundamental that needs fixing. Your toaster oven does sound a good deal, though, so something to think about whenI eventually get my kitchen sorted 🙂


        • Marcella Rousseau February 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

          You’re welcome! I’m sure you could find a breadmaker recipe online for the cinnamon raisin bread. The toaster oven is the greatest, easier to clean and keep clean too. I kid you not! Love it, love it!


  4. lemoncake February 2, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    So I think I used Ceylon Cinnamon.. Not as sweet and punchy.. I now want to try Saigon Cinnamon! Thanks for the comment on my blog post. I feel much more informed about cinnamon 🙂


    • Marcella Rousseau February 2, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      I am much more informed about cinnamon too! It has been interesting to research. Thank you for stopping by and commenting on my blog ; – )


  5. galleykitchengal February 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    Mmm! I love cinnamon. Thanks for the tips and super-helpful info!


    • Marcella Rousseau February 1, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Thank you and thanks for stopping by. I love cinnamon too! Glad you liked the tips and that I could be helpful to you ; – )


  6. tamara February 1, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    I can almost smell Your Cinnamon Loaves here in Ljubljana!I will definitely try your recipe for I just love cinnamon!



  1. Recipe #48: Cinnamon Rolls | The Food Gypsy - April 5, 2013

    […] Of course you do. I doubt there is any person who hasn’t tasted it. I mean it is common across the globe in its various forms (a fact brought to my attention by Marcella Rousseau at the For Your Good Health Blog). […]


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