A Lesson in Cinnamon

Trip Start Sep 26, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Thursday, March 1, 2007

Despite my inquisitive nature, I never questioned where cinnamon came from. I assumed storks dropped the powdered stuff off at Safeway and someone somewhere was the millionaire owner of a cinnamon-stick factory. Turns out it comes from trees that grow everywhere in Sri Lanka. In fact, Sri Lanka is the only exporter of cinnamon in the whole world (so I've been told).

Recently, a little boating excursion near Weligama brought me to Cinnamon Island. Quite fittingly, I learnt where cinnamon actually comes from. So you think you're smart: cinnamon comes from the bark of a tree, right? Nice try, but cinnamon is actually the flesh of the tree.

After the tree is cut and the branches removed, the bark is scrapped off. Then, layer by layer the tree is peeled. (People who do this are actually called 'cinnamon peelers.' I don't think these people are paid very much - especially considering the price we pay for the stuff...) These damp cardboard-like strips are then dried and thus turned into cinnamon sticks. Voila!

I hope this lesson was as interesting to you as it was for me. Regardless, I bet you'll think of it next time you make oatmeal cookies.
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