For some people, the smell of cinnamon may evoke memories of holiday festivities, family gatherings or favorite seasonal treats. For others, cinnamon's aroma is simply soothing. A common ingredient in baked goods and potpourri medleys, cinnamon has been used as a spice and herbal remedy since antiquity. The bark of an Asian tree, it is mentioned in Chinese writings dating from 2800 B.C. and was used by the Egyptians as an embalming agent. One very simple way to release the smell of cinnamon into your home is to simmer it on the stove. This idea works well, no matter the season, and is great for entertaining, natural air freshening and aromatherapy purposes.
Things You'll Need
- Cinnamon sticks
In a small saucepan (any size will work), bring half a pot of water and a few (two to four) cinnamon sticks to a gentle boil.
Reduce the heat to low, and let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes or more.
As the water level in the pan gets low, add more water so that the pan does not go dry.
Tips & Warnings
- For a seasonal simple syrup that can be used in cocktail recipes, add equal parts water and sugar to the pan, along with the cinnamon sticks. Remove the cinnamon after 10 minutes and keep the syrup in the refrigerator for up to one month. There are many variations on simmering cinnamon potpourri---you can experiment with the addition of apple or citrus peels, whole cloves, bay leaves, star anise, or a sprig of rosemary. After you are finished with the simmering cinnamon water, you can use it to water your plants. You can also save the cinnamon sticks in an open glass jar, for several more potpourri uses. Many real-estate agents suggest that homeowners boil cinnamon sticks on the stove when showing a house for sale, in order to make the home smell pleasant and inviting. When you host a party, serve apple cider that can do double duty as potpourri: place a few cinnamon sticks in the pot with the cider when you heat it, and the cinnamon scent will waft into the air. Some people enjoy cinnamon tea, which is made in the same fashion as the simmered potpourri above; if you choose, you may drink the cinnamon water after simmering.
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