Korintje cinnamon is a variety of cassia cinnamon. Because the names cassia and cinnamon are used interchangeably, it is easy to confuse them. To make matters even more complicated, korintje cinnamon is sometimes called by other names as well. For example, it is sometimes called Padang cassia. The name refers to Cinnamomum burmannii, which is a close relative of the other forms of cassia as well as of true cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon). In fact, it is the variety with which most people in the U.S. are familiar. Korintje cinnamon is popular in commercial bakeries because of its low cost and because it is the flavor that most Americans expect. It is also known as Java or Indonesian cinnamon.
Much of the world’s korintje cinnamon is found in Western Sumatra, which is where it was first cultivated. It was first cultivated in the area around the city of Padang; specifically, the Kerinci Regency. Korintje is the Dutch word for Kerinci. The spice was cultivated by the Dutch during their colonial reign in Indonesia. This variety of cinnamon differs from Ceylon cinnamon as well as from cassia varieties in that it is harvested from higher altitudes. It is also harvested at a different time of year from the other varieties.
Korintje cinnamon is believed to be the variety of cassia referred to in China as kwei-shi. The name cassia is believed to have come from the kwei-shi name or from the name of India’s Khasi people.
In Hawaii, it is listed as an invasive species and a threat to more than a dozen local species.
Korintje cinnamon flavor profile
Korintje cinnamon is often rich in the essential oil that is responsible for its flavor, but the oil content can vary depending on the grade of the cinnamon. Korintje cinnamon comes in three grades: A, B, and C. While A grade cinnamon can have a more pungent flavor when compared to other forms of cinnamon, C grade can be somewhat bitter. The highest grade of korintje cinnamon is said to have a smooth, sweet taste with less of the pungent heat of other cassia varieties.
Health benefits of korintje cinnamon
The health benefits of korintje cinnamon are similar to those of other cassia varieties and are the result of beneficial compounds like:
- Flavonoids: Korintje cinnamon contains flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol that are known to possess antioxidant properties.
- Anthocyanins: Anthocyanins are pigments that give foods their color and can have major antioxidant benefits.
- Borneol: Borneol is a terpene similar to camphor and is used medicinally to treat a variety of health conditions.
The constituents above and many others help to make korintje cinnamon effective for treating a range of health conditions, including the following:
- High cholesterol: Research has shown that korintje cinnamon can help to lower the levels of various lipids such as LDL cholesterol.
- High blood sugar: Korintje cinnamon along with other cassia varieties has been shown to lower blood glucose level as effectively as some older diabetes drugs.
- Poor digestion: Korintje cinnamon may be used to treat gastrointestinal ailments like flatulence and diarrhea.
Note: Like other forms of cassia cinnamon, korintje cinnamon contains a large amount of coumarin. Coumarin has blood-thinning properties and can cause liver damage if you consume too much of it. Experts recommend consuming no more than a teaspoon of korintje cinnamon per day.
Korintje cinnamon is used in most of the desserts and beverages in the US that require cinnamon. If you have had commercial cinnamon rolls or apple pie, you have probably had this variety of cinnamon.
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