Cinnamon has always been a precious commodity in the kitchen. In fact, back in the first century AD, cinnamon was fifteen times more expensive than silver!
Nowadays, cinnamon sticks are much cheaper than silver, and you can find them at any major grocery store. This flavorful spice can add depth to your favorite warm beverage, and a huge bonus about cinnamon sticks is that they are reusable.
So if you use one to stir your tea or in a nice mulled cider recipe, don’t throw it away.
You can reuse cinnamon sticks 4 to 5 times before they lose their flavor. To prep your stick after you’ve used it once already, rinse it under hot water and allow it to dry. Then, run the stick along a grater a few times to release the flavors.
After you do that, your cinnamon stick is ready to be reused. Keep reading for more ways to reuse your cinnamon sticks.
How Many Times Can You Reuse Cinnamon Sticks
The great news is that you can reuse old cinnamon sticks four to five times. This means that for any recipe you use a cinnamon stick in, you should save it to use again.
If you’re not sure that your cinnamon stick is still good after four uses, break off a small piece and rub or crush it in your hand.
Smell and lick those little pieces and if they still taste like cinnamon, you’re good to go. But if you can’t really taste anything, then go ahead and throw the cinnamon stick out.
How Long Can You Reuse Cinnamon Sticks
When kept at room temperature, cinnamon sticks have a shelf life of three to four years.
So as long as the cinnamon stick still tastes good, you can reuse them for three to four years.
To help your cinnamon keep its maximum shelf life, store them in containers with tight-fitting lids. This could be some Tupperware or plastic bags.
Also, you can reuse cinnamon sticks past their expiration date.
Most commercially-made cinnamon sticks have some sort of “best by” date on them. This is the company’s estimate of how long the cinnamon sticks will be fresh and maintain their flavor.
Technically, cinnamon sticks never spoil, they just start to lose their flavor.
What Can I Do With Old Cinnamon Sticks
There are a few ways you can incorporate old cinnamon sticks into your daily routine.
Instead of using a plastic stirring stick, use an old cinnamon stick to stir your coffee or tea in the morning.
This infuses your morning drink with cinnamon flavor and cuts down on plastic waste, which is great for the environment.
Just be sure to leave the cinnamon stick out to dry when you are done in the morning.
If you want to infuse your cinnamon stick with more flavor the next time you use it, grind the cinnamon stick on a grater a few times before stirring to release the cinnamon aromas.
A delicious way to prepare oatmeal is to make it on the stovetop with a new or previously used cinnamon stick.
Place two cups of water and a cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Add a cup of old-fashioned oats, reduce the heat to medium, and cook for five more minutes.
Pour in a cup of milk and cook for another five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oatmeal becomes thick and creamy.
Remove it from the heat, fish out the cinnamon stick, and serve the oatmeal with your favorite toppings like brown sugar or banana.
Another option to reuse your old cinnamon sticks is to throw them into homemade chicken or beef stock.
If you add cinnamon sticks while making your broth, it gives it a rich, complex taste. This is commonly done in the broth when preparing phở, the popular Vietnamese soup.
When making homemade chicken stock, place 4-6 chicken thighs or one quartered chicken, carrots, onion, a cinnamon stick, and your favorite herbs like rosemary, thyme, parsley, or sage into a pot.
Fill it with water until the ingredients are completely covered by two inches. Bring to a boil and then cook it for 60-90 minutes over low heat.
Strain the pot to collect the broth, and then you have chicken stock to use for your favorite soup or recipe.
You can also substitute old cinnamon sticks for other spices like galangal when you’re in a pinch.
Can You Reuse Cinnamon Sticks After Boiling
Since cinnamon sticks are used to prepare popular warm drinks like spiced cider or mulled wine, they often reach boiling temperatures.
You can still use cinnamon sticks four to five times after boiling.
To make your cinnamon sticks last, only break off the amount of cinnamon you need when boiling.
Since cinnamon is such a strong spice, you often don’t need a whole stick for a recipe. Breaking the cinnamon stick in half will give your cinnamon sticks a longer shelf life.
Can You Reuse Cinnamon Sticks For Tea
Drinking tea is a common and tasty way to reuse your cinnamon sticks.
Cinnamon compliments the flavor of herbal teas like lemon or apple or a more spicy tea like turmeric. Try adding honey as well if you are using turmeric tea to balance out the spice.
And cinnamon isn’t just a tasty addition to your tea, it can be a medicinal one as well.
According to the University of Maryland, cinnamon consumption has been proven to improve symptoms in type 2 diabetes because it lowers cholesterol levels and helps with insulin sensitivity.
Of course, consult your doctor first before making any changes to your diet.
To reuse your cinnamon sticks in a whole pot of tea, you can break up the cinnamon stick into little pieces.
Add all these pieces to the pot of water with your tea bag and let it come to a boil. You can reuse these pieces after you strain out the tea if you dry them off after.
However, if you are using loose leaf tea, rinse the cinnamon pieces under water before drying them so that any excess tea leaves stuck to the pieces come off.
You can also reuse cinnamon sticks as a stirrer for your tea.
This is a great option if you just want a hint of a cinnamon flavor but don’t want it to overpower your cup of morning tea.
Just give your tea a swirl and leave the cinnamon stick out to dry so you can use it the next morning.
Can Cinnamon Sticks Get Moldy
Cinnamon sticks are a spice stored in your cabinet, so generally, they won’t get moldy.
However, just like with any other spice, if your cinnamon gets exposed to water, it can grow mold on it.
This is why if you reuse old cinnamon sticks, you want to leave them out to dry. If you put wet cinnamon sticks back into a sealed container, they can grow mold.
There are lots of different kinds of mold that can grow on food.
The mold that grows on cinnamon sticks is usually white and grows in either one large spot or looks like a narrow line of spots.
If your cinnamon sticks have any mold on them at all, throw them away because they are not safe to consume.
To learn more about how to handle food with mold on it, read this article from the USDA.
How to Store Used Cinnamon Sticks
If you properly store your cinnamon sticks, you don’t have to worry about them growing mold.
Store your used cinnamon sticks after they are dry in an airtight container or a Ziploc bag. Any kind of Tupperware will work well for this.
Do not store your cinnamon sticks in the fridge. While you might think the fridge can make your cinnamon last longer, it will actually cause condensation to grow in the container.
This will make your cinnamon grow mold on it and go bad.
To maintain cinnamon sticks’ long shelf life, store them in a cool, dark place, like your spice cupboard or pantry, at about 60 to 80°F.
How to Dry Cinnamon Sticks
Drying out your cinnamon sticks is a crucial way to help maintain their long life.
After using the cinnamon stick, rinse it off and pat it dry with a clean cloth or a paper towel. Then, set the cinnamon sticks on the counter in a single layer on a dry paper towel or plastic wrap and leave them out until they are completely dry.
You can put the cinnamon sticks directly on the counter, but you risk accidentally setting them in a wet spot you didn’t see before.
It’s crucial not to put the cinnamon sticks away until they are completely dry. Also, don’t put them in the sun to dry faster because sunlight can leach out the flavor.
It might take four or five days for the cinnamon sticks to completely dry, but do not rush this process, or you risk mold growth.
How Long Can Cinnamon Sticks Last in Water
Cinnamon sticks do not last long if stored in water because they will quickly grow mold.
Mold can grow as quickly as 24-48 hours in water. Instead, keep your cinnamon sticks in a cool, dry place.
However, don’t throw your cinnamon sticks away if they are wet from boiling. You can boil cinnamon sticks four to five times before they lose their flavor.
Just pat the cinnamon sticks dry after using them and leave them on the counter to dry for a couple of days before storing them back in a sealed container.
|Common Questions About Cinnamon Sticks||Answer|
|Can you reuse cinnamon sticks?||Yes|
|How many times can you reuse cinnamon sticks?||4 to 5 times|
|How long can you reuse cinnamon sticks?||3 to 4 years|
|What can I do with old cinnamon sticks?||Use them to stir your coffee or tea, put them in oatmeal, or put them in homemade chicken or beef stock|
|Can you reuse cinnamon sticks after boiling?||Yes|
|Can you reuse cinnamon sticks for tea?||Yes|
|Can cinnamon sticks get moldy?||Yes, if exposed to water|
|How do I store cinnamon sticks?||In an airtight container in a cool, dry place.|
|How do I dry cinnamon sticks?||Pat them dry and set them on the counter to dry completely for 4-5 days|
|How long can cinnamon sticks last in water?||If stored in water, cinnamon sticks can grow mold within 24-48 hours|
Cinnamon sticks are an excellent spice to have around your house because they can be reused and add fullness to everyday dishes, like homemade chicken broth.
Stir your tea with a cinnamon stick or throw it in your stovetop oatmeal for some added spicy flavor.
You can reuse cinnamon sticks four to five times before they start to lose their potency.
Store them in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, and they can last for three to four years.
Just always make sure cinnamon sticks are completely dry before storing them, or they can grow mold.
Enjoy using cinnamon sticks over and over again to make delightful treats for your whole family.
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