So, you found yourself wondering if you can eat cinnamon sticks as a snack? In short, yes. Here’s why you still don’t want to do it.
Whether added to tea, simmered with oatmeal, or added to soup or a slow-cooked meal, cinnamon sticks are a delicious spice that can add a festive richness and depth of flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike.
And if you’re a fan of cinnamon, you will inevitably find yourself with an abundance of cinnamon sticks on hand. With an excess at your disposal, it’s natural to furrow your brows and ponder: can you eat cinnamon sticks as a snack?
Is Eating Cinnamon Sticks Safe?
In a word, yes, you can eat cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon sticks are simply dried pieces of cinnamon bark rolled into quills, while ground cinnamon is made by pulverizing the bark into a fine powder.
But before you break off a piece of cinnamon and start munching away, it’s important to exercise caution. Cinnamon sticks are hard and dry — because of that, they are anything but easy to chew and swallow. Trying to eat cinnamon sticks poses a risk to your teeth as well as a choking hazard.
If you want to enjoy the many health benefits of cinnamon, ground cinnamon or taking cinnamon supplements may offer an easier to digest, more concentrated dose.
Ways to Use Up Cinnamon Sticks
Cooking With Cinnamon Sticks
One of the best ways to use cinnamon sticks is adding them to soups, stews, and curries.
Simply toss a few sticks into the pot while cooking, then let the cinnamon flavors infuse into the dish. The sticks can easily be removed once the dish is done, making it a hassle-free way to add a delicious cinnamon flavor.
Baking With Cinnamon Sticks
Cinnamon sticks aren’t just limited to savory dishes. They also work wonders in baked goods, such as cakes, pies, and breads. The natural sweetness of cinnamon adds a unique twist to traditional dessert recipes, creating a warm, comforting flavor.
When using cinnamon sticks in baked goods, there are a few different options for incorporating the spice.
One option is to grind the sticks into a fine powder using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. This powder can then be added to the batter or dough.
Another option is to infuse the cinnamon flavor directly into the liquid ingredients — such as milk or cream — before adding them to the batter. Simply heat the liquid with a few cinnamon sticks until the desired flavor is reached, and then strain out the sticks before adding the liquid to the recipe.
Flavoring Drinks With Cinnamon Sticks
For drinks, cinnamon sticks can be added to hot beverages, like apple cider or hot chocolate.
The heat from the liquid will release the flavor of the cinnamon stick into the drink, releasing its sweet, spicy taste.
Pro tip: If you find the taste of cinnamon a little too strong, try using cinnamon sticks as coffee stirrers. They will add flavor to your drink without it being too overpowering.
It’s also a great way to incorporate the health benefits of cinnamon, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. So not only does it taste great, but it’s also good for you!
Using Cinnamon Sticks as Cocktail Garnish
Cinnamon sticks are a fantastic way to add a touch of elegance to your cocktails.
You can use them as a stirrer or a decoration to give your drink a festive flair. Not only do cinnamon sticks add texture and color to your drink, but they also impart a subtle cinnamon flavor that complements a wide range of cocktails.
For a playful and cheerful holiday-inspired cocktail, experiment with a cinnamon sugar rim.
Simply mix cinnamon and sugar on a plate, dampen the rim of your glass with a lemon or lime wedge, and dip it into the mixture. Finish it off by adding a cinnamon stick as a garnish to bring the look together.
Cinnamon Sticks as a Home Fragrance
Cinnamon sticks are not just for cooking and garnishing, they can also be used as a natural air freshener in your home. The warm and comforting scent of cinnamon can make your house feel cozy and inviting.
To use cinnamon sticks for home fragrance, simply simmer them in a pot of water on your stovetop. Add other fragrant ingredients like orange or lemon peel, cloves, or vanilla extract for a personalized scent. As the mixture simmers, it will release a delicious aroma that will fill your home with a warm and inviting scent.
How Are Cinnamon Sticks Made?
The production of cinnamon sticks is labor-intensive.
First, the outer bark of the cinnamon tree is stripped away, and the inner bark is harvested and rolled into long, thin quills. These quills are then left to dry in the sun, where they curl into the familiar stick shape.
After they have fully dried, cinnamon sticks can be used whole or ground into a powder. While ground cinnamon is a popular choice, many cooks and bakers prefer to use whole sticks, because they can be easily removed from dishes once the desired flavor has been achieved.
Not everyone knows that there are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon, also called “true” cinnamon, originates from Sri Lanka and has a delicate, sweet taste that’s perfect for use in sweet baked goods, like cinnamon rolls or apple pies. It’s also a staple ingredient in chai tea blends.
On the other hand, Cassia cinnamon, which is native to China and Indonesia, has a more robust and spicy flavor compared to Ceylon cinnamon. It’s used in savory dishes, like curries and stews, and is a great choice for making cinnamon-infused hot chocolate.
Yes, you can eat cinnamon sticks.
However, cinnamon sticks are hard, dry, and incredibly tough to chew and swallow. Spare yourself the risk of damaging your teeth or choking on the dried bark and use them up in drinks or cooked dishes instead.
Instead of chewing cinnamon sticks, try adding cinnamon sticks to broths, stocks, soups, stews, rice dishes, and dishes prepared in the slow cooker.