Cinnamon: More Than Just a Holiday Treat

With its unmistakable aroma, cinnamon is considered to be one of the consummate spices of the holiday season. It’s one of the oldest known spices, traditionally used for centuries in many cultures for its medicinal qualities. Cinnamon was once so highly prized, wars were fought over it and it was used as currency! Fortunately, these days you can enjoy the benefits of cinnamon with as little effort as a trip to the grocery store.

Below are just some of the wonderful health benefits:

1. Great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

2. Just ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.

3. Reduces the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.

4. An anti-clotting effect on the blood.

5. Combined with 1 tablespoon of honey, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon every morning before breakfast has been shown to significantly relieve arthritis pain.

6. Acts as a natural food preservative, inhibiting bacterial growth and food spoilage.

7. Smelling cinnamon has been shown to boost cognitive function and memory.

8. Has the ability to control blood sugar, making it particularly helpful for those with Type 2 diabetes.

9. Good mouth freshener, removing bad breath.

10. Very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence.

Enjoying this spice can be as simple as adding it to your morning oatmeal or evening hot apple cider. You can also sprinkle it in your tea, coffee or fruit. While we often think of it paired with sweet confections, it's addition to savory dishes can add a wonderful new dimension. Try the dish below and let us know what you think.

Chicken Biriyani Spiced with Saigon Cinnamon

1 cup basmati rice
3 tbsp. canola oil
2 tsp. whole coriander
3 chiles de arbol, crumbled by hand
1 1/2 tbsp. kosher salt
2 1/2 tsp. ground Saigon cinnamon
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs
4 skinless, bone-in chicken legs
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 2" piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1⁄4 cup toasted sliced almonds, for garnish
Fried shallots, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the rice in a small bowl and cover with water; let it soak for 20 minutes. Drain the rice and set it aside.

2. Heat the oil in a 4-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the coriander and chiles, and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add the salt, cinnamon, garlic, chicken, onion, ginger, and jalapeno, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions soften, about 6 minutes.

3. Stir in the reserved rice and 1 1⁄4 cups water, and bring to a simmer. Cover pot and transfer to the oven; cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 35 minutes. Transfer the pot to a rack and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with almonds, fried shallots, and cilantro.


Recipe source:

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