Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Mar 6, 2006 01:35 PM

How many times can I re-use a single cinnamon stick?

  • l

I place a cinnamon stick in my tea before pouring in the boiling water. How many times can I re-use this same stick before it loses its maximum flavor (and perhaps health benefits?)?

Since the stick does not appear to be disintegrating with each use, is it possible to reuse and reuse it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Interesting- I have never thought of using a cinnamon stick m ore than one time. I am curious to see the responses. Maybe I have been wasting them all these years!

    10 Replies
    1. re: macca

      Macca -- I, too, used to toss them after one use. However, lately I have read several articles touting the possible (?) health benefits of cinnamon, and I thought I would toss one into my daily teacup...can't hurt and the extra flavor is nice.

      I have used one three times and the flavor does not seem to be dwindling...let me know your experience if you try this.

      1. re: liu

        I just take the end of the stick and crumble a bit into my tea. It sinks to the bottom, so you don't have to ingest it, though I like nibbling on the bits. I think crumbling it seems to disseminate the flavor more.

        If your stick isn't the kind that crumbles (rather the more woody kind), then it isn't real cinnamon. Strangely, the real stuff tends to be cheaper in the US, if you get it at latino/asian/caribbean stores, even though it has a superior flavor.

        1. re: butterfly

          Thanks for this info.

          I am running downstairs right now to try to "crumble" my cinnamon to see if it is the real deal!

          1. re: butterfly

            Here's a description of the Latino/Mexican cinnamon sticks. The Spanish word is canela.



            1. re: paulj

              Thanks, PaulJ.

              The cinnamon sticks that I purchased was from an Indian spice shop. However, that does not necessarily mean that it came from India; its origin was not labeled. Nevertheless, thanks for the information about Mexican cinnamon.

              Just an add-on...I do love the cinnamon offerings at Penzey's Spice Shop (our closest one is in Torrance). Have you been there and tried their ground cinnamon? It is well worth the visit!

              1. re: liu

                Have you read Penzeys description of cassia and cinnamon, specifically what they call 'Ceylon softstick cinnamon'.

                "Ceylon cinnamon is soft and easy to crumble. Very thin pieces of bark are tightly rolled into parchment style sticks..."

                Cinnamon is an important flavoring in Mexican hot chocolate. Mexican 'cafe the olla' (pot coffee) is made by steeping cinnamon and piloncillo (molassesy raw sugar) along with coffee.

                Cinnamon is also used (in various parts of Latin America) to make a cinnamon tea. One Ecuadorian recipe for 'Canelazo' uses 4 c water, 2 oz of cinnamon (canela), 1/2 lb sugar, )and spiked with rum to taste). To get maximum flavor from the cinnamon it calls for boiling it (covered) for 15 minutes, add a bit of cold water, resume simmer for another 15 minutes, and repeat 2 more times - i.e. a hour of simmering.

                I like making a syrup for flavoring my coffee by dissolving piloncillo cones in a small amount of boiling water, along with crumbled cinnamon, letting that steep for up to an hour.


                1. re: paulj

                  Oooooh, you have some delicious suggestions here, PaulJ. Thanks!

                  While we're on the subject...I have never used those dark tannish sugar cones that you can purchase in a Mexican market. Is this the "piloncillo" cone you are referring to? How do I use it? You put it in boiling water...broken up? How long does it take to dissolve? What else can I use it for? How is its taste different from molasses or other dark sugars?

                  1. re: liu

                    Piloncillo is that crude brown sugar that is sold in seveal sizes of cones. Taste is similar to a dark brown sugar. It can be grated or chopped (in some countries it is called 'raspadura' = 'something that is hard and has to be grated'), but the easiest way to use it is to dissolve it in boiling water. One of the large cones may take several minutes.


                    1. re: paulj

                      Thanks, Paul, for expanding my world of tastes! I have seen it often when we are out wandering and exploring the large Hispanic markets in Los Angeles, and I have avoided it -- just not knowing what to do with it. Now, however, I will look forward to trying it.

          2. re: liu

            Thanks for the tip. I will try it- always like to find ways to stretch out ingredients! Even if cinnimon sticks are not a high ticket item, I LOVE to save money!

        2. This is sort of hard to exactly deterimine. It depends upon whether they are cassia or real cinnamon (cassia is what is commonly called cinnamon in the US, real cinnamon is more common in Mexico and Europe) how fresh they are, the age of the tree, and what part of the tree the bark was stripped from. Just use each stick until it has no more flavor. They should be good for several uses.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            JMF -- Thanks for your response about all the variables that I did not consider.

            These were cinnamon sticks that I purchased in Artesia at an Indian spice store. Since they were quite inexpensive (99cents for about 15 sticks), can I assume they might not be of very high quality?

            Nevertheless, I am doing as you suggested...on my third use and the flavor seems to be holding.

          2. The answer is 7. You can use it once and then reuse it 7 times. If you reuse it more than 7 times, it turns into sulfuric acid and you will die. If you reuse it less than 7 times you will always wonder ehwther that 7th time might have been the best of all. This is very important, so ignore all of the other replies--try to forget that you ever saw them. Good luck, liu.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Poot

              Ha-ha! Actually, I noticed a decrease in quality after about three uses...I'll never get to your "7"...
              so, I'm safe!
              Thanks for your reply and well wishes!

              1. re: Poot

                I've used it eight times and I'm still alive... It's a miracle!!!

              2. By the way, if you scrape off the outside it rejuvenates them...