One of the most indulgent and warm spices out there is cinnamon.
You probably use it in your dishes to add some sweetness but what happens when it’s been stored in your pantry for a few months? You might start wondering: Has my cinnamon gone bad? How long does it last?
Here’s the deal: ground cinnamon, whether opened or unopened, stays fresh within a year of the best-by date. Cinnamon sticks, on the other hand, can last for 3-4 years.
How To Tell If Cinnamon Has Gone Bad
Fortunately, cinnamon won’t go bad unless water or moisture gets to it. So if you see any mold, organic growth, wet spots, or big clumps, discard the spice. These are signs that water has contaminated your cinnamon. If it looks okay, then it’s safe to use.
How To Store Cinnamon
When storing ground cinnamon, keep it in a dark and cool area, away from sunlight and heat. The pantry or kitchen cabinet is a good spot. Make sure your cinnamon is sealed tightly when not in use to keep away any moisture that might spoil it.
The same storage instructions apply to cinnamon sticks. Store them in a dark, cool area that is away from heat and sunlight. Transfer them to a jar instead if they come in plastic packaging to prevent exposure to fresh air.
The Shelf-Life Of Cinnamon
Ground cinnamon comes with a best-by date on the label which indicates how long it should retain its best quality. Ground cinnamon will lose some flavor over time. However, it can keep fresh a year past the best-by date.
Cinnamon sticks retain their flavor for longer. These will hold their flavor for 3-4 years.
Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants such as polyphenols. It has anti-inflammatory properties which may help lower the risk of disease. Cinnamon may decrease the risk of heart disease. Half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day has been shown to reduce levels of bad cholesterol and keep good cholesterol stable.
For those with insulin resistance, cinnamon can improve insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon can also lower blood sugar levels and it has a powerful anti-diabetic effect. Furthermore, cinnamon helps to fight bacterial and fungal infections.
The Bottom-Line On Cinnamon
There are two types of cinnamon – the Cassia variety and the Ceylon or true cinnamon. Studies show that Ceylon or true cinnamon is better for you as it doesn’t contain the compound coumarin in large doses. This compound may be dangerous in the long run. So if you can, try to buy Ceylon cinnamon at health food stores.
Cinnamon has a pretty long shelf-life. It will hardly ever go bad unless water contaminates it. Still keep an eye out for any signs of mold, growths, bad smells, clumps, or wet spots. If you find them present, discard your cinnamon.
To prevent this, store your cinnamon in a cool, dry area away from sunlight and heat. Remember to seal it tightly to prevent any excess moisture from getting to the cinnamon.