cinnamon


cinnamon
cinnamoned, adj.cinnamonic /sin'euh mon"ik/, adj.
/sin"euh meuhn/, n.
1. the aromatic inner bark of any of several East Indian trees belonging to the genus Cinnamonum, of the laurel family, esp. the bark of C. zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon), used as a spice, or that of C. loureirii (Saigon cinnamon), used in medicine as a cordial and carminative.
2. a tree yielding such bark.
3. any allied or similar tree.
4. a common culinary spice of dried rolled strips of this bark, often made into a powder.
5. cassia (def. 1).
6. a yellowish or reddish brown.
adj.
7. (of food) containing or flavored with cinnamon.
8. reddish-brown or yellowish-brown.
[1400-50; < L < LGk kínnamon < Sem (cf. Heb qinnamon); r. late ME cinamome < MF < L cinnamomum < Gk kinnámomon < Sem as above]

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Bushy evergreen tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) of the laurel family.

Native to Sri Lanka, India, and Burma, cinnamon is also cultivated in South America and the West Indies for the spice consisting of its dried inner bark. The light-brown spice has a delicately fragrant aroma and warm, sweet flavor. It was once more valuable than gold. Today cinnamon is used to flavor various foods. In Europe and the U.S. it is especially popular in bakery goods. The oil is distilled from bark fragments for use in food, liqueur, perfume, and drugs.

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▪ plant and spice
      (species Cinnamomum zeylanicum), bushy evergreen tree of the laurel family (Lauraceae) native to Sri Lanka (Ceylon), the neighbouring Malabar Coast of India, and Myanmar (Burma) and also cultivated in South America and the West Indies for the spice (spice and herb) consisting of its dried inner bark. The spice is light brown in colour and has a delicately fragrant aroma and warm, sweet flavour. Cinnamon was once more valuable than gold. In Egypt it was sought for embalming and witchcraft; in medieval Europe for religious rites and as a flavouring. Later it was the most profitable spice in the Dutch East India Company trade. In modern times, cinnamon is used to flavour a variety of foods, from confections to curries; in Europe and the United States it is especially popular in bakery goods.

      The Sri Lanka cultivator harvests his main crop in the wet season, cutting the shoots close to the ground. In processing, the shoots are first scraped with a semicircular blade, then rubbed with a brass rod to loosen the bark, which is split with a knife and peeled. The peels are telescoped one into another forming a quill about 107 cm (42 inches) long and filled with trimmings of the same quality bark to maintain the cylindrical shape. After four or five days of drying, the quills are rolled on a board to tighten the filling and then placed in subdued sunlight for further drying. Finally, they are bleached with sulfur dioxide and sorted into grades.

      Cinnamon contains from 0.5 to 1 percent essential oil, the principal component of which is cinnamic aldehyde. The oil is distilled from the fragments for use in food, liqueur, perfume, and drugs. The aldehyde can also be synthesized.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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