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How to Buy Cinnamon
By Alex Smith, eHow Contributor
Cinnamon is a spice cultivated from strips of inner bark from the cinnamon tree. It is an incredibly popular spice, used in dishes around the world. If your only experience in buying cinnamon is grabbing a tin from the grocery store, you may be surprised to learn how many different varieties and options that you have to choose from. Take a bit of time to consider your needs in order to buy the ideal cinnamon.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Select the type of cinnamon that you want. There are three main types. Korintje cinnamon comes from the cassia tree in Indonesia. It is not true cinnamon, but it is the style most people are familiar with. Asian cinnamon comes from cassia trees in China and Vietnam. These are also not true cinnamons, and are stronger and spicier than Korintje cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is true cinnamon coming from the cinnamon tree. It has less flavor than Korintje, but offers a citrus overtone. The smell is also much more delicate than cassia styles of cinnamon.
Consider the grade of your cinnamon. Grade A is the best, with a sweeter and more mellow flavor and aroma. It is sold in gourmet shops and should be used when a strong cinnamon flavor is required. Grades B and C are lower quality, and are what is often sold in grocery stores and in bulk. This cinnamon is often more bitter, and is intended for recipes in which cinnamon is one of many ingredients.
Check for the volatile oil content. Volatile oil gives cinnamon its flavor. Ideally, the cinnamon you buy should have at least 2 percent volatile oil.
Decide how much you will need. Cinnamon is much less expensive when purchased in bulk, so long as all of it is used. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a year’s supply at a time.