Food & dining

short orders

Warm, familiar cinnamon is good for you

All cinnamon is most definitely not created equal. Wander into Penzeys Spices in Arlington and you’ll find not one but four different kinds — actually, five, as the house brand is a blend
of the other four (available in jars, or ¼-pound, ½-pound, and
1-pound bags, $3.29 to $41.30). All have the warm, sweet,
familiar spiciness, but each is distinctive. Cinnamon has been getting good buzz lately because of its health properties. There are two types. One is cinnamomum zeylanicum, or Ceylon
cinnamon (from Sri Lanka), so-called “true” cinnamon, with some complexity and hints of citrus; it goes well with fruits and has minimal amounts of the natural anticoagulant coumarin, making it the healthiest of the lot. The other three come from cinnamomum cassia plants: Chinese tung hing,
Indonesian korintje, and Vietnamese extra fancy with a rich, deep copper-brown color, almost like cocoa, and a heady,
concentrated flavor great in cinnamon rolls. Penzeys Spices,
1293 Massachusetts Ave., Arlington, 781-646-7707,

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