Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the bark of trees from the Cinnamomum family. Cinnamon is used in cooking for both sweet and savory foods. Cinnamon is also used in room scents, perfumes and in other fragrant products. It was once a highly sort after spice and its origin was kept a closely guarded secret by the spice traders. Let’s take a look at where cinnamon originates from and where it is produced today.
Where does cinnamon come from?
The trees that produce cinnamon originate from South East Asia including the modern day countries of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh and Vietnam. It is still produced in many of these countries, but it is also grown in the West Indies, Brazil, Madagascar, Zanzibar and Egypt. The largest producers of cinnamon today are Sri Lanka (90%), China, India and Vietnam.
The spice is extracted from one of 4 different species of the Cinnamomum family. It is obtained from the inner bark of these trees, which are harvested in about 6-8 years. After this time the tree is chopped down with a piece of the branch left in the ground. This is done so that new trees will grow from the roots. The outer bark is scraped off the branches and then they are beaten with a hammer to loosen the inner bark. This is removed from the branch and is dried to be cut into strips for sale.