Processing of Cinnamon
1) Peeling and Extraction of Bark:
Branches, 1 to 2 cm in thickness and which have attained brown colour are cut. The branches should be 1 to 2 years old. Cutting of shoots for extraction of bark is done in May and November. Presence of mature leaves and stopping of new growth of leaves is an indication of free, flow of sap between the bark and the wood. To judge suitability of peelings the peelers make an oblique cut and lift the bark to see whether bark separates easily with free flow of sap to facilitate easy peeling. If there is difficulty in peeling, the shoot is rejected. The cut shoots are collected, bundled arid tied to shed for peeling: Peeling is done with a small knife haying a round edge at the end. Cut shoots are given longitudinal slits from end to end and two halves of the entire bark are removed.
Peeled barks are packed together and placed one above the other and pressed. Length of peeled barks is reduced to 20 cm and these are piled up in small enclosures,, covered with dried leaves or mats-to preserve moisture for next day’s operation and also to aid slight fermentation.
3. Piping :
Peeled and rolled slips are bundled and taken to piping yard. These slips are kept on a horizontal stick supported on a stand. The outer skin of the slip is scrapped-off with a curved knife. These scrapped slips are then graded according to thickness. The graded slips are rolled to form pipes by fitting them over the outer cover of pipes. After piping, slips are dried. Such piped slips are called quills’. The smaller quills are inserted into larger ones to form compound quill. After drying, they are packed in mats for marketing.
Good quality cinnamon should not be thicker than thick paper. It should be light brown with wavy lines and produce ‘sound of a fracture’ when broken. When chewed, it should become soft, melt in. the mouth arid sweeten the breath.
The quills are graded from ‘00000’ being the finest quality, to ‘0’ the coarsest quality. The small pieces of the bark, left after preparing the quills are graded as ‘quillings’. The very thin inner pieces of bark are dried as ‘featherings’. From the coarser canes, the bark is scrapped-off, instead of peeling and this grade is known as ‘scrapped chips’. The bark is also scrapped-off without removing the outer bark and is known as ‘unscrapped chips’. The different grades of bark are powdered to get ‘cinnamon powder’.