Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Ancient history of cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known used by humankind. At one point in ancient history, cinnamon was so highly treasured that it was even considered more precious than gold.

The term cinnamomum is derived from the Greek root kinnamon or kinnamomom, meaning sweet wood. Cinnamon was one of the first spices to reach the Mediterranean; the ancient Egyptian used it in embalming, and it’s mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament.

It was also used as beverage flavoring and medicinal herbs. Asian and Near Eastern people have long used cinnamon to flavor meat. Nero, an emperor of Rome in the first century, burned a year’s supply of cinnamon on his wife’s funeral pyre as an extravagant gesture meant to signify the depth of his loss.

Greeks and Romans did not really introduce it into their cooking until the final period of the Roman Empire, around the third and fourth century.

Cinnamon brought from China was well known to Arab perfume makers by the 9th century.

Cinnamon was prized in medieval Europe as a preservative and also as a staple ingredient in cooking. Meals including both meat and fruit were prepared in a single pot and cinnamon along with ginger helped flavors blend together.
Ancient history of cinnamon