I love cinnamon. I put it in everything I can get away with, including a sprinkle in my coffee every morning. Turns out, not only is cinnamon delicious, it’s also good for you.
This blog entry is from herbalist extraordinaire, Kate Temple-West of Friendly Herbalist. She’s much better suited to talk about the virtues of cinnamon. Thanks, Kate! Be sure to check out her site at: www.friendlyherbalist.com. She plans to start a blog soon, so stay tuned.
Cinnamon is a delicious warming spice with many culinary and medicinal uses. It is excellent for circulation, and is especially helpful for people with perpetual cold hands and feet. In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda it is used to ward off colds. It is diaphoretic, (opens the pores and helps you to sweat), which helps to remove toxins and other impurities from the body. It is anti-bacterial, helps to regulate blood sugar, is pain relieving, promotes digestion, and eases muscle tension. It is astringent (drying), and is helpful in cases of diarrhea by sprinkling it on top of a stewed green apple. It makes a good mouth wash for bleeding gums. Needless to say these facts are no substitute for a doctor, but they are still useful to know in a pinch, since pretty much everyone has some cinnamon powder in their kitchen somewhere.
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Here’s another idea for a homemade gift. You can knock out two gifts with one recipe—crystallized ginger and ginger syrup.
Peel one to two medium sized fresh ginger roots.
Slice into pieces about 1/8 inch thick. You should have about a cup of ginger.
Bring three cups of water and two cups of sugar to boil. Stir until sugar has dissolved.
Add the ginger and turn the heat down. Simmer over medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, until the ginger is tender and translucent. Be sure to watch it. If the heat is too high, the syrup can burn quickly.
Drain all but about a tablespoon of the syrup (be sure to keep the syrup!). Return ginger to pan and heat while constantly stirring until all the water evaporates.
Remove from heat and toss with a cup of sugar.
Place ginger on wax paper and let cool. Be sure to separate the pieces or you’ll have a giant ginger blob.
Store in an airtight container and keep at room temperature.
Crystallized ginger is tasty in most baked goods. Epicurious has a slew of recipes.
Keep the syrup refrigerated. Add a splash of it to tea or any beverage you want to spice up.
Ginger martinis anyone?