Cinnamon: Cinnamon comes from the bark of a tropical evergreen, just like its cousin cassia. It has an ancient pedigree, even being used to embalm a few pharaohs. That may not sound appetizing, but it has been found to be good for the heart, the stomach and the joints. Not impressed yet? Well consider that it also seems to mimic insulin and therefore helps diabetics moderate their sugar levels. So don't be shy with this tasty and healthy spice.

Opal-Basil Cinnamon Vinegar

prep time: 10


  • 1 cup packed opal basil leaves including any blossoms (available at specialty produce markets) plus sprigs for garnish, rinsed and spun dry
  • a 3 inch cinnamon stick, broken in two
  • 2 cups white-wine vinegar


Put the basil leaves and blossoms in a very clean 1 quart glass jar and bruise them with a wooden spoon. Add the cinnamon and the vinegar and let the mixture steep, covered with the lid, in a cool dark place for at least 4 days and up to 2 weeks, depending on the strength desired. Strain the vinegar through a fine sieve into a glass pitcher, discarding the solids, and pour it into 2 very clean 1 cup glass jars. Add the basil sprigs and seal the jars with the lids.