Ingredient Profile: Cinnamon

A Cinnamon BundleCinnamon comes from the inner bark of evergreen trees native to Sri Lanka, southwest India, and Asia. After it is peeled away from the tree this, this brown bark curls up into tubes called “quills” as it dries.

In addition to its use as a spice, cinnamon or its oil is used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical, personal health, and cosmetic products. It is also often used as incense.

Cinnamon is available either as cinnamon sticks (whole quills) or as a ground up powder.

Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon Cinnamon), and Cinnamomum amoraticum (Chinese cinnamon) are the most popular of the more than two hundred varieties of cinnamon. Many consider Ceylon cinnamon to be “true cinnamon,” while the Chinese variety is known as “cassia.”

While both are relatively similar in characteristics, featuring an aromatic, sweet, and warming nature, the flavor of the Ceylon variety is more refined and subtle.

In North America cassia is more popular, probably due to its cheaper price, whereas Ceylon cinnamon is less commonly found and used.

History

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicinal herb, but also as an embalming agent. At one point in ancient history, cinnamon was so highly treasured it was considered more precious than gold.

Cinnamon SticksCinnamon also received much attention in ancient China, which is reflected in its mention in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine, a reference which dates to around 2700 B.C.E.

It is also mentioned in the Bible, and reportedly, Nero, the emperor of Rome in the first century C.E., burned a year’s supply of cinnamon in his wife’s funeral pyre as an extravagant gesture meant to signify the depth of his loss.

As the popularity of cinnamon continued to flourish, it became one of the most utilized spices in Medieval Europe. During the Middle Ages most meals were prepared in a single cauldron; casseroles containing both meat and fruit were common, and cinnamon helped bridge the flavors. Mince pie is a traditional food from this period that still survives today.

Due to its great demand during the late Middle Ages, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between Europe and the Near East. The demand for cinnamon was enough to launch a number of explorer’s enterprises, especially explorations by the Dutch and Portuguese.

In modern times, cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, while Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil, and the Caribbean.

Health Benefits

Cinnamon has a long history of use in both Eastern and Western cultures as a medicine. Some of its reported uses are in cases of arthritis, asthma, cancer, diarrhea, fever, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, peptic ulcers, psoriasis, and spastic muscles.

There are scientific studies to support some of these uses. Some of the confirmed effects of cinnamon are as a sedative for smooth muscle, circulatory stimulant, carminative, digestant, anticonvulsant, diaphoretic, diuretic, antibiotic, and antiulcerative.

Cinnamon SticksOne recent investigation of sixty people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon taken daily for forty days reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29 percent, triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 7 to 27 percent, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26 percent. In contrast there were no clear changes for the subjects who did not take cinnamon.

Cinnamon’s unique abilities come from three basic components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamylacetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.

Cinnamon is often used in multicomponent Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been studied for clinical effects. For example, cinnamon combined with Chinese thoroughwax (Bupleurum falcatum) and Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora) was shown to produce satisfactory results in the treatment of epilepsy. Out of 433 patients treated (most of whom were unresponsive to anticonvulsant drugs), 115 were cured and and another 79 improved greatly.Improvements were noted not only by clinical symptoms, but also by improvements in brain wave patterns.

Other clinical studies have shown cinnamon-containing formulas to be useful in cases of the common cold, influenza, and frostbite. However it is not really known to what degree the improvements noted are actually due to the cinnamon versus the other components.

Energetic and Magical Properties

Powdered CinnamonGender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Influences: Spirituality, Success, Healing, Power, Psychic Powers, Lust, Protection, Love

When cinnamon is burned it raises the spiritual vibrations of the area where it is smouldering. This energy can be used in all manners of spells, healing work, or even just meditation and prayer.

To draw money to you sprinkle some powdered cinnamon inside your wallet, and to help a business do well place some cinnamon powder under the doormat after asking it to bring customers.

In matters of love and passion, cinnamon can be used to heat up a romance or to attract lovers. It can also raise psychic awareness, especially if burned with sandalwood.

Sprinkle in the corners of your home if you seek energetic protection.

Cinnamon’s lovely taste also makes this a great inclusion when using food magic. Simply ingest the food you prepared after asking the cinnamon to bestow upon you the attribute you desire.

How to Select and Store

Homemade Cinnamon PowderCinnamon is available in either stick or powder form, though most recipes call for the ground powder. You can grind cinnamon sticks into powder on your own if you have a spice grinder; otherwise it is quite difficult. Just as with other dried spices, choose organically grown cinnamon when possible, since organic spices are are much less likely to have been irradiated.

Remember if you want a, sweeter, more refined taste, choose the Ceylon variety. Fortunately it is becoming more widely available.

Ground cinnamon as well as sticks should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while whole sticks may stay fresh for as long as a year. The best judge of freshness is your nose.

Tips for Use

Cinnamon is vital to Indian, Moroccan, Indonesian, Middle Eastern, Greek, Chinese, and many other cuisines. It is an extremely versatile spice that compliments a wide variety of foods and other spices. Cinnamon works well with pultry, in curries, and with fruit, particularly apples and pears.

*Safety*

Cinnamon contains moderate amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over-consumption of this food.

Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving

Calories: 261
Carbohydrates: 79.85 g
Fat: 3.19 g
Protein: 3.89 g
Fiber: 54.3 g
Water: 9.52 g
Stearic Acid: 0.005 g
Oleic Acid: 0.45 g

Linoleic Acid: 0.53 g
Linolenic Acid: 0 g
Arachidonic Acid: 0 g
EPA: 0 g
DHA: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.48 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.53 g
Saturated Fat: 0.65 g
Calcium: 1228 mg
Copper: 0.233 mg
Iron: 38.07 mg

Magnesium: 56 mg
Manganese: 16.667 mg
Phosphorous: 61 mg
Potassium: 500 mg
Selenium: 1.1 mg
Sodium: 26 mg
Zinc: 1.97 mg
Folic Acid: 0 mcg
Niacin: 1.3 mg
Pantothenic Acid:0 mg
Riboflavin: 0.14 mg

Thiamine: 0.077 mg
Vitamin A: 260 IU
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Vitamin B6: 0.31 mg
Vitamin C: 28.5 mg
Vitamin E:0.01 mg
Vitamin K: 0 mg

Recipes which Include Cinnamon:

Spiced Hot Chocolate

This article was adapted from:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T.

With Additional Information from:

The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Herb Book by John Lust

Pictures pulled from Google.com

How to Make Bubble Milk Tea (Boba)

 Greetings everyone.

Today’s video is a recipe that I only became familiar with after moving to the city.

It has since become one of my favorite drinks, and a favorite of my friends as well.

Nothing beats a good milk tea on a hot Colorado afternoon.

This recipe can also be adapted in almost infinite ways. Have fun with it, and discover your favorite boba drink.

If you are worried about using sweetened condensed milk in this recipe, click here to see a recipe for home made condensed milk using healthy sweeteners.

Enjoy.

For more videos by Emmy Made in Japan click here.

A Ritual of Gestures

Sun SaluteThis elegantly simple ritual is phenomenal for connecting and communicating with the energies, spirits and deities around you. No words need to be spoken, yet everything is understood.

A Ritual of Gestures
Adapted from Scott Cunningham

Stand in the ritual area. Still your thoughts. Breathe deeply for half a minute or so until composed and calm. Turn your mind to your deities.

Face north. Lift both hands to waist height, palms down. Press your fingers together, creating two solid, flat planes. Sense solidity, foundation, fertility. Invoke the powers of Earth through the gesture.

Moments later, turn toward the east. Raise your hands a foot higher, your palms facing away from you (no longer parallel with the ground), and elbows slightly bent. Spread your fingers and hold this position, sensing movement and communication. Invoke the forces of Air through this gesture.

Face south. Lift your hands fully above your head. Keeping the elbows straight, grasp your fingers into tight fists. Feel force, power, creation and destruction. Invoke the forces of Fire through this gesture.

Turn to the west. Lower your hands a foot or so. Bend the elbows, turn your palms upward and cup them, pressing the thumbs against the forefingers. Sense fluidity, the ocean, liquidity. Invoke the forces of Water through this gesture.

Face north again. Throw your head back and raise both hands to the sky, palms up, fingers spread. Drink in the essence of divine creativity; the unknowable, ultimate source of all. Sense the mysteries within the universe.

Moon SaluteLower your projective hand but keep your receptive hand high. With your raised hand press the ring, middle and fore fingers against the palm, lift the little finger and thumb to create a rough crescent shape. Sense the reality of the Goddess. Sense her love, her fertility, her compassion. Sense the powers of the Moon in the gesture; the force of the eternal seas- the presence of the Goddess.

Lower your receptive hand; lift your projective hand. Bend down the middle and ring fingers toward the palm, and trap them with the thumb. Life the forefinger and little finger up to the sky, creating a horned image. Sense the reality of the God. Sense the power of the Sun in this gesture; the untamed energies of the woodlands- the presence of the God.

Lower your projective hand. Lie down flat. Spread your legs and arms until you’ve created the pattern of the pentagram. Sense the powers of the Elements running through you; merging and coalescing into your being. Sense them as emanations from The Universe, The Goddess, and the God.

Meditate. Commune. Communicate.

When finished, simply stand up. Your rite of gestures is over.

Images pulled from Google.com

 

The Full English Breakfast

Greetings everyone.

Today’s video is something I desperately want to try. The Sorted crew make their twist on a full English breakfast look amazing, and very simple to put together.

There are lots of healthy fats and meats right along with a healthy dash of veggies.

It’s definitely a winner.

Enjoy.

For more videos by Sorted Food click here.

Ingredient Profile: Pine Nuts

Pignoli inside their ShellsPine nuts, also called pignoli, piñons, and Indian nuts, depending on the variety, are the seeds of various species of pine trees. Of the more than one hundred pine tree species around the world, about a dozen in the Northern Hemisphere yield desirable seeds, the three most prevalent being the Pinus pinea (Mediterranean stone pine), Pinus cembroides (Mexican nut pine), and Pinus edulis (piñon pine of the south-western United States).

Pine species that produce edible nuts grow in northern Mexico, the south-western United States, Europe, Asia, North Africa, and South America. Their seeds range in size from the 1/2-inch seeds found in Mexican, American, and European pines to the giant 2-inch seeds of the nut pines in South America.

A single pine cone may contain a hundred seeds, but they are lodged securely within the cone, which must be heated to open the scales and loosen the nuts, enabling their removal. After the nuts have been shaken free, the hull protecting each individual nut must be cracked open. This intensive two-step process is the primary reason for their high price tag.

Shelled PignoliIf you’ve already tried pine nuts, you’ve most likely eaten the seeds of the Mediterranean stone pine, Pinus Pinea, a tree found from Portugal to Italy to Lebanon that provides the most widely available nut. Shaped like a torpedo, these soft, ivory-colored, 1/2-inch pignoli have a light, delicate flavor with a piney, resinous undertone.

Piñons are similar to pignoli  in taste and appearance, but the Chinese pine nut, which is shaped like a squat triangle, has a pungent pine flavor so intense it can overpower some dishes.

 Pignoli are a ubiquitous ingredient in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa, where they are eaten by the handful as snacks and used in a wide variety of recipes, including classic Italian pesto. Piñons have also enhanced the traditional dishes of Mexico and Native Americans living in the south-western United States for many centuries.

History

Not surprisingly, all cultures where nut-bearing species of pines grow have valued their edible seeds since time immemorial. It is thought that the pine nuts from the North American piñon tree were eaten as a staple food some 10,000 years ago, and species are also to be found in Korea, China, Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where they have been a traditional food of nomadic tribes.

Piñons were so important a food for Native Americans throughout the region that they were called Indian nuts and are still harvested in quantity by Native Americans, both for food and for trading.

Piñon in Shells

In the 1500s, Spanish chroniclers traveling among the Hopi and Navajo nations recorded pine nuts being eaten whole, ground for flour and baked, pounded into a buttery paste, used in soup, and either boiled or roasted to make a nourishing porridge. The seeds were cached against long winters, serving as the mainstay of the Native American’s diet when weather conditions prevented hunting for fresh meat.

Despite this description of use in America, pine nuts are most often associated with the Mediterranean region, in particular Italy, where they have been used as a n ingredient for well over 2,000 years. Evidence found in the ruins of Pompeii, an Italian town destroyed when the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., show that pine nuts were widely used at that time.

Some research indicates that the species now grown in Europe, Pinus pinea, originated in the Near East and that it was humans who gradually spread it throughout the Mediterranean.

Valued by ancient Greeks and Romans as an aphrodisiac, pine nuts are still a favorite ingredient in Italian cuisine.

Pignoli are also used in a variety of French meat dishes, in crudités (raw vegetable salads), and in pastries and baked goods such as macaroons.

Pignoli in an Open ConeIn Greece and Turkey pine nuts, often along with currants, are an integral ingredient in a number of pilaf rice dishes.

In North Africa, pine nuts are common ingredients in confections; in Tunisia, they are often added to mint tea, the regions ubiquitous equivalent of the American cup of coffee.

In India, where they are called chilgoza, pine nuts garnish rice dishes and add their sweet richness to desserts, puddings, sauces, and sweetmeats.

Finally in Korea they are used in a sustaining breakfast porridge, ginger tea, and confections.

Although 3,000 or more metric tons of pine nuts are produced annually in Mexico and the south-eastern United States, little of this crop enters the nut trade. The majority of pine nuts commercially available in the United states are imported from Italy and Spain, the world’s top producers.

Nutritional Highlights

European pine nuts, or pignoli, which deliver 24 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), contain more protein than any other nut or seed. An ounce of pignoli contains more protein (6.8 grams) and less fat (14 grams), fiber (1.3 grams), and carbohydrate (4 grams) than their American cousins, piñons, which provide 3.3 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 5.5 grams of carbohydrate. The fat provided by both types of nuts is about 50 percent monounsaturated, 40 percent polyunsaturated, and 10 percent saturated.

Shelled PiñonsPignoli supply160 calories per ounce, while the same amount of piñons provides 178 calories. Per ounce, piñons contain more vitamin B1 (32 percent the recommended daily intake compared to 21 percent of the recommended daily intake of pignoli, although both nuts qualify as an excellent source), while pignoli contain more iron (14 percent of the recommended daily intake compared to the 5 percent in piñons, which makes pignoli an excellent  and piñons a good source of the mineral.)

Both types of nuts provide comparable amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Both are an excellent source of vitamins B1 and B3, manganese, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and zinc as well as being good sources of vitamin B2, E and potassium.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of pine nuts are similar to those of other nuts that provide a high content of monounsaturated fat and arginine. In addition both types of pine nuts deliver a hefty dose of magnesium and potassium, two minerals whose combined effects produce a strong, healthy heartbeat, lowered blood pressure, and improved blood flow.

Taken altogether, pine nut’s arginine, monounsaturated fat, magnesium, and potassium content provide powerful effects for counteracting heart disease.

Energetic and Magical Properties

Piñon in an Open ConeGender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Air
Influences: Fertility, Abundance

Pine cones containing seeds are carried throughout Europe to increase fertility and to retain your youth in old age. The seeds also make wonderful offerings to fairies, rumored to live and play inside pine trees; slain-god figures, whose immortality is reflected by the evergreen nature of pine trees; and to nature spirits in general.

To inspire abundance or fertility include them in altar arrangements and ceremonies. They can also be ingested to help bring these properties into your life, simply ask them to do so as you include them in dishes or as you snack on them whole.

How to Select and Store

Pignoli are widely available and are sold already shelled. Piñons are most likely to be available in the southwestern United States, where they are sold, already shelled, in the produce section of grocery stores and natural food markets. They can also be found still inside their shells by wild-harvesters on the side of busy roads, or at markets in the same area.

Asian markets are the best place to find Chinese pine nuts.

Chinese Pine Nuts in their ShellBecause of their high fat content, all varieties of pine nuts are extremely susceptible to rancidity. Purchase pine nuts that are packaged in an airtight container. Be sure to check the sell-by date on the package to ensure freshness.

Store all pine nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to three months, or an airtight ziplock bag in the freezer, where they will keep for up to nine months.

Tips for Preparing

Toasting shelled pine nuts will intensify their flavor and takes just 2-3 minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat or 6-8 minutes spread out on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.

Roasted PiñonsAlternatively, rinse the pine nuts in cold water, drain, sprinkle with salt, put in a covered roasting pan, and steam at 250-275 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cover and stir until completely dry.

To roast piñons inside their shells wash them thoroughly, spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet while still wet, salt if desired then place into a preheated oven at 325 degrees F. Check them after 10 minutes by pulling one from the pan, cracking it and tasting it. If it still tastes raw they are not finished; also pay attention to the color of the meat inside the shell. When they become a light butterscotch color remove them immediately and cool thoroughly and evenly. Piñons can burn easily, so check them often as they roast.

*Safety*

There are significant safety issues with nut and seed consumption. As a general rule, nuts are among the foods more commonly associated with allergic reactions. Nut allergies also tend to be severe with a range of symptoms. Use caution when introducing nuts to children, or when trying new types of nuts yourself.

Pinus Pinea ConesA less serious safety issue with most nuts and seeds is they provide a high ratio arginine to lysine. While arginine does provide significant health benefits, a high arginine-to-lysine ratio is best avoided by people susceptible to cold sores or herpes infections, as arginine promotes, while lysine prevents, the activation of the virus.

Asthma-like symptoms have also been observed after consumption of pine nuts. Individuals living near a pine forest, who are therefore exposed and possible sensitized to pine tree pollen, may be more at risk to allergies involving pine nuts. Also, common antigenic (allergy-provoking) proteins have been identified in pine nuts and peanuts, so individuals with a peanut allergy may want to avoid pine nuts.

Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving

Calories: 566
Carbohydrates: 14.22 g
Fat: 50.7 g
Protein: 24 g
Fiber: 4.5 g
Water: 6.69 g
Stearic Acid: 1.672 g
Oleic Acid: 17.9 g

Linoleic Acid: 20.689 g
Linolenic Acid: 0.654 g
Arachidonic Acid: 0 g
EPA: 0 g
DHA: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Monounsaturated Fat: 19.076 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 21.343 g
Saturated Fat: 7.797 g
Calcium: 26 mg
Copper: 1.026 mg
Iron: 9.2 mg

Magnesium: 233 mg
Manganese: 4.298 mg
Phosphorous: 508 mg
Potassium: 599 mg
Selenium: 16.6 mg
Sodium: 4 mg
Zinc: 4.25 mg
Folic Acid: 0 mcg
Niacin: 3.57 mg
Pantothenic Acid: 0.208 mg
Riboflavin: 0.19 mg

Thiamine: 0.81 mg
Vitamin A: 29 IU
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Vitamin B6: 0.11 mg
Vitamin C: 1.9 mg
Vitamin E: 3.5 mg
Vitamin K: 0 mg

Recipes which Include Pine Nuts:

Ginger Tea (생강차 [Saenggangcha])

This article was adapted from:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T.

With Additional Information from:

The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Herb Book by John Lust

Pictures pulled from Google.com