Browse The Gjenvick-Gjønvik Archives Home Page

CASSIA - Defined

CASSIA—Is the name of a small tree which yields a bark that has less aroma, but is hard otherwise to detect from cinnamon; it is ground and made into oils and extracts, and passed off for cinnamon generally without detection.

Cassia is easily distinguished from Cinnamon. The bales in which it arrives are much smaller, containing only from two to four pounds, hound together by portions of the bark of a tree.

The quills are thicker, rolled once or twice only, and never contain thinner pieces within; the diameter of the bark is much thicker than that of Cinnamon, and harder, the outer rind less carefully removed (large patches of the cuticle and epidermis often remaining upon it), the color deeper, of a brownish fawn-color (that raised in Guyana is yellowish), with the odor of Cinnamon, but fainter and leas grateful; the taste more acridly aromatic, pungent, less sweet, at the same time more powerfully astringent, yet mucilaginous.

Cassia is often substituted for Cinnamon, and it is also frequently adulterated with Cassia Lignea (which is the bark of a degenerate variety of the Cinnamomutn Zcylanicum (Blume) growing in Malabar, Penang, and Silhct), with the bark of Cinnamomum Culilawan, and with portions which by distillation have been deprived of their volatile oft.

Oil of Cassia is also ob turned by distillation; at drat it is whiter than oil of cinnamon, afterwards it becomes yellow, but never of such a fiery yellow as cinnamon-oil the odor is agreeable, but not so delicate and cinnamon-like: taste, acrid, burning, but different from cinnamon.

Specific gravity 1*0608; it reddens litmus paper. At a low temperature crystal show themselves, which disappear with an increase of heat Some consider these a camphor, others benzoic acid.

Benzoic acid unquestionably exists in this oil. Oil of cinnamon is adulterated with oil of cassia, with the oil of cassia-buds, with the oil of the Ciratus lauro-cerasus, or Cherry-Laurel, and it is also said with oil of bitter-almonds, an exceedingly dangerous intermixture.

Return to Top of Page

Vintage Culinary Terms - "C"