One of the most delicious spices around is cinnamon. You can’t deny the warmth, fragrance, and depth of cinnamon. Just a whiff of the scent will conjure pictures of heavenly food – from pies to casseroles and everything in between. But as popular as ground cinnamon has become, people seem to have forgotten about cinnamon sticks. What are the purposes of cinnamon sticks? Can you eat cinnamon sticks? We’re going to answer those questions and more.
Can You Eat Cinnamon Sticks?
Yes, you can eat cinnamon sticks.
Most people don’t really consume the stick whole, though. They break off pieces and chew on them.
In moderate amounts, chewing on a cinnamon stick can be beneficial to your health. However, there are better ways to incorporate cinnamon sticks into your diet.
Here are some fun facts about cinnamon sticks:
- There are two kinds of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is known as “true cinnamon” and has a mild flavor that adds complexity to dishes. Cassia is darker and often ground up. The flavor is stronger than Ceylon cinnamon.
- Cinnamon sticks come from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The sticks are naturally curled as they dry.
- The correct term for cinnamon sticks is quills.
- You shouldn’t eat cinnamon sticks whole, because they are woody.
- Cinnamon sticks can be reused 4-5 times before losing flavor.
How Long Do Cinnamon Sticks Last?
When stored properly, cinnamon sticks will stay fresh for up to 4 years.
Make sure you are using airtight containers and storing your spices in a dark, cool cabinet or spice rack.
You can reuse cinnamon sticks, depending on how you used them originally. For example, if you had swirled a stick in warm water for tea, simply wait for the stick to dry before grinding down the used portion. You can keep a portion of the cinnamon stick or use the ground cinnamon for other recipes.
How Can You Use Cinnamon Sticks?
You now know the answer to the question“can you use cinnamon sticks?” While chewing on cinnamon sticks is perfectly fine, there are much better ways to utilize the spice.
Here are some ways to use cinnamon sticks:
1. Infuse cinnamon sticks for tea
You might be wondering, “Can I boil cinnamon sticks?” You sure can. Take some sticks, cut them up into smaller pieces, and stick them in the bottom of the teapot or in your tea infuser. Pour in your boiling water and let the spices steep. You can also do the same thing with instant coffee and loose leaf teas. If you want to get extra creative in the morning, use that pot of hot tea to flavor a packet of instant oatmeal, smoothies, cocktails, and so much more.
2. Use cinnamon sticks as tea or coffee stirrers
Want a sustainable coffee or tea stirrer for your home? Grab some cinnamon sticks! It doesn’t take much to add a touch of delicious spice to your favorite warming beverage. Simply stick in a piece of cinnamon bark and give the drink a swirl or two. Leave the stick in your drink while you enjoy it or remove it after stirring the contents. The choice is yours.
Stir up the following:
- Chai tea
- Hot toddies
- Herbal teas
3. Add cinnamon sticks to a slow cooked meal or roast
If you plan on slow cooking some pork, chicken, lamb, or beef, get innovative. Place a cinnamon stick in the slow cooker with your meat. Once you open the lid, your mouth will start watering from the aromas alone. Just be sure to remove the cinnamon bark from the food before serving it. While a small piece of cinnamon stick won’t hurt, you could end up shocking your dinner guests.
4. Add more flavor to your rice
Tired of your white rice having one note? Try adding some intrigue to your rice dishes by placing a stick of cinnamon in the water as it comes to a boil. You can also drop a cinnamon stick in the rice cooker for the same effect. Let the stick remain while the rice cooks. The spice imparts a warm flavor to the rice that will compliment all kinds of recipes, including Moroccan and Indian meals.
Remove the cinnamon stick before serving the rice.
5. Spice up your soup broths
Did you know that Vietnamese pho broth is often flavored with some cinnamon? Now you know! If you want to get that same kind of deliciousness in your homemade broths and soups, drop some cinnamon sticks in the mix while the broth simmers. Plus, adding cinnamon to vegetable or chicken broth is an excellent way to impart more health benefits, particularly for the cold and flu season.
You can use this for stews, curries, and even savory sauces. Get creative.
Is Eating Cinnamon Sticks Good For You?
Are there any benefits to chewing cinnamon sticks? There are! Cinnamon is not only flavorful and fragrant—it’s also medicinal. Here is a look at the benefits of cinnamon sticks:
1. Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory
While not as strong as an NSAID, cinnamon is undoubtedly powerful when it comes to decreasing inflammation in the body. Use it in conjunction with other anti-inflammatory foods for maximum effect.
2. Get some antibacterial and antifungal benefits
If you want to fight off bacterial infections and viruses more readily, add some cinnamon to your diet. Cinnamon is a common at-home remedy for colds and the flu, but it can also bolster your immune system.
3. Control your blood sugar better
Cinnamon contains an enzyme that aids in the balance of glucose and insulin, decreasing the chance of blood glucose spikes.
4. A true antioxidant
Did you know cinnamon is a natural preservative? That’s because it is chock-full of antioxidants, including polyphenols.
5. Improve your circulation
Cinnamon has components that increase your metabolism and improve circulation by thinning out the blood. Often, people add cinnamon to their diet when they are trying to lose weight for this very reason.
Cinnamon Stick Side Effects
How much cinnamon is too much?
If you start chowing down on cinnamon sticks, you could potentially end up in poor health. In higher doses, you receive too much coumarin, leading to liver issues and negative drug interactions. For example, you should never take high doses of cinnamon when you are on blood thinning medications or suffer from hypoglycemia. Cinnamon can cause unsafe drops in blood sugar, especially when eaten in excess.
Now, can you eat cinnamon sticks while pregnant? That depends. In moderation, a little cinnamon won’t hurt, but you should avoid too much of it. Again, this depends on your current condition and whether you are taking any medications.
It’s Time to Put Sticks in Your Soup
Can you eat cinnamon sticks? Sure!
Cinnamon is delicious on its own and can be chewed in small pieces, though you should try adding cinnamon sticks to other foods for the best flavor experience. Just remember to use the spice in moderation, as the health benefits you receive can quickly become a detriment.
So, what will you flavor with cinnamon sticks first?