The new Ceylon cinnamon harvest has finally arrived after a late September 2017 harvest, perfect for Autumn fruits. The grated cinnamon smells of home and, yes, Christmas.
Here's a picture of one of our peelers. First he scrapes the outer bark off with a Sa-utu, then rubs the inner bark with a brass rod, a Pitalaliya, to soften it. Then he uses a small knife, a Kokete, with a fine blade hooked like a scalpel, to peel the inner bark from the trunk into quillings and featherings, which lie in front of him. These are rolled into quills and dried.
The inner bark, botanical name Cambium, was described simply by Peter Wohlleben in his fascinating book The Hidden Life of Trees as "the bit that's alive" and when you see and smell the freshly peeled quillings and featherings, still very moist with a flim of cinnamon's highly aromatic volatile oils, you understand what he means.
Hardly a month later, dried, rolled and wrapped, this is on your kitchen table, as fresh as can be!