Q: We have a recipe for Cassia Bud Pickles that has been in my mother's family since about 1850. We can't find a source for the cassia buds.
Lynne: What we call cinnamon in this country is actually the bark of the cassia tree. Cassia buds are, literally, the dried cassia flower bud. They smell and taste like peppery, sweet, flowery cinnamon. I have a bottle of them in my spice cabinet that I got from Penzey's. I've used the buds in stewed fruit, in spicy marinades for meats, and with game. If you can get to a Chinese neighborhood, another source might be a Chinese pharmacy.