Have you ever thought about grinding your own cinnamon? Cinnamon preserves essential oils in a stick thus homemade cinnamon powder is powerfully fragrant and packed with flavors. Moreover, it lasts longer.
Thus many people prefer to buy cinnamon sticks. However, sometimes you have a recipe that requires cinnamon powder instead.
Well, today we will explore some easy ways how to convert cinnamon sticks into DIY cinnamon powder.
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What is cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree called Cinnamomum tree.
Cinnamon in other languages called Zimt (German), Canelle (French), Canela (Spanish), and Dalchini (Hindi) is the most used baking spice in the world.
what does cinnamon taste like?
Well, cinnamon is considered a warm and sweet spice that adds both fragrances as well as a sharp taste to any dish, mainly desserts, and bakes.
Freshly ground cinnamon smells like heaven. You can use it in many of your cooking and baking projects. From simple recipes like this cinnamon apple tea latte to more complicated cinnamon bread cinnamon adds a specific taste and fragrance that is hard to beat.
However, the use of whole cinnamon sticks is a bit different. I like to use cinnamon sticks in tea. I just simply throw 1 cinnamon stick into a casserole with 1 cup of boiling water and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the stick before serving. It tastes great with honey and lemon.
I also like to infuse cinnamon sticks in alcohol, honey, or oil to extract their flavors and medicinal benefits. The longer you leave the stronger benefits and taste of cinnamon you will get. That way I infused cinnamon stick in this homemade cough syrup or fire cider.
Cinnamon possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties and helps fight acne. It's a great ingredient for DIY skincare such as facial masks.
How to make cinnamon powder
There are several ways for grinding cinnamon sticks and making homemade cinnamon powder.
Each method requires specific tools or equipment you might already have at home.
Before we start make sure you have very good quality cinnamon sticks at your disposal.
Let’s start with the simple grater that I use when I prepare cinnamon powder. This method is great when I just need a bit of cinnamon powder for a topping or to dust my cappuccino. I have a set of small graters that I use for nutmeg or parmesan. This zester also works for a cinnamon stick. The powder is not as fine as the one from a blender however it works great for any topping or dusting.
Mortar & pestle
Another way how to make ground cinnamon from cinnamon sticks is to use a heavy mortar and pestle. The heavier the better to help you grind the cinnamon bar. Snap cinnamon into pieces to start the breakdown. Then take the pestle and turn it fast until the cinnamon is crushed into powder.
Ziploc bag and blunt object
For the third method of grinding cinnamon sticks into powder by hand, you will need a meat tenderizer or other heavy blunt object. Place your cinnamon into a Ziploc bag and you can keep crashing it with a meat tenderizer or the bottom of a coffee mug till you achieve desired consistency. Even A wooden rolling pin might also do a job.
Keep in mind that you might not achieve the consistency you are after however.
The best way however to grind cinnamon into a powder is to use a spice or coffee grinder right before you need to use it.
Makes it a bit easier, but still, break the cinnamon to start so the sticks don't get stuck under the blade. The kitchen pliers are a great way to crack the cinnamon. Cover it to start grinding. You should be able to hear when you no longer have big pieces left in the grinder. Stop and start again until your homemade cinnamon powder is ground to desired consistency.
If you happen to have a high-speed blender like Vitamix it will also work great for this project.
In no more than a few seconds at the highest speed, you may get a fine DIY cinnamon powder. I used the highest setting with several stops each 20 seconds. It often has very fine powder on the sides and larger pieces at the bottom. Strain it through the sieve to remove the fine powder and continue to crash the remaining chunks of cinnamon bark. The Vitamix always works better if you have a higher amount of cinnamon sticks and you can use the pestle to mix the powder while blending it.
Another alternative could be a food processor. Depends on which type of processor do you have but it also might do the job.
In order to keep the freshness of cinnamon sticks as long as possible, store them sealed in a cool and dry place like a cupboard or spice drawer. When you keep cinnamon sticks away from moisture, heat, or bugs they can last at least up to 4 years. Use an airtight bag or container to avoid any strong odors contaminating them. The cinnamon stick can also be stored in a fridge or freezer to keep bacteria away and to preserve its rich fragrance and taste. HIgher the quantity, the better thus buying cinnamon sticks in bulk makes sense.
While it is advisable to use Cinnamon sticks before their expiration date they don’t get spoiled. However, over time, they will lose their potency and flavor. The best way to check if they still keep their aroma is to rub them between your fingers and check if they are still fragrant and tasty or if their aroma is already weak.
Similarly, the cinnamon powder should be stored in a dark and dry place To maximize its shelf life store it in containers with tight-fitting lids. The powder form of cinnamon should not be refrigerated.
No, the homemade cinnamon powder does not spoil, however, like other spices, it loses some of its flavors over time. Thus once you open the original package with powdered cinnamon try to finish it within a year past the best-by date to get the best quality.