I like to use cinnamon sticks, for flavor and for stirring, in my teas and coffee. Should the stick be tossed after so many uses, not just due to diminishing flavor, but for sanitary reasons? I allow the sticks to thoroughly dry between uses, but I still question the safety?
Amy from Walnut Creek, CA
If you don't have any dairy products in your beverages there should be no problem saving the cinnamon sticks as long as you like. If you use milk, you might not want to keep them more than a day or two, or rinse them well between uses.
bacteria will grow ...
Yes, I figured bacteria could grow, hat is why I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation. i have been using them about three times before tossing.
yes, thank you, I figured bacteria would grow...that is why I was wondering if anyone would have a recommended amount of times the stick should be used. As of right now, I use it three times, then toss it.
The flavor in it is the essential oil. You can tell how much flavor it has by sniffing it or even nibbling a corner that you shaved off with a knife. Most are very dried-up and just for decoration.
Once you introduce any food to an environment where it can degrade, it starts degrading. Not only does this reduce the effect of the food, but it invites bacteria to grow.
You could get the same effect by breaking a cinnamon stick into smaller pieces, using one small piece, then tossing it after one use.
You could also use the "shaver" section of your grater to grate the fresh cinnamon stick into whatever you're using it for (any section of a grater will work OK; it's just that the shaver makes the particles smaller).
I don't know if you live in a cold climate, but on very cold, dry days in my drafty old house, I like to simmer a pot on a stove (bring to boiling first) to warm and humidify the air. This is where I use all my leftover spices -- I buy mine in bulk (cheaper and fresher) at a local health food store, and I empty them and start over at least once a year. I find that late autumn is perfect for this, as I'm about to start baking again, and it's the perfect time to put those old spices to use as potpourri. So you could toss your used cinnamon sticks into an OPEN jar and set aside until you want to simmer them.
I'm aware this is not a "green" practice and withhold it for very cold, dry days! If I am cooking and baking already, I bring my simmer pot to a boil and turn off the burner, letting the heat from my cooking keep the water warm enough to release moisture and aroma into the air.
I hope I haven't gone off-topic here! Just some ideas for your cinnamon sticks with caveats attached.
You don't need to worry too much about bacteria growing on cinnamon sticks because the essential oil is a natural anti-biotic. Using one stick every three cups shouldn't be a problem. That's happens to be what I do myself.
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