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About Cloves[]

One of the most fascinating ingredients used in daily cooking in many parts of the world is the clove. It is a unique looking ingredient, which is dark brown or black, and has a characteristic taste and smell as well. Cloves are used for a variety of purposes, and it is an ancient spice as well as remedy. Even ancient people have used this ingredient as a spice and for treatment. Indeed, as a treatment, it is also used today to deal with tooth and gum pains. In fact, there are even chewing gums and toothpastes that are made with cloves.

The main part of the clove plant is its bud. Clove oil is extracted from these buds, but it can also be extracted from its leaves. However, it is the clove buds that are used for cooking purposes and not the leaves.

The clove comes from the Myrtaceae (myrtle family). It is a distinctive species that has a pleasant smell. The clove on its own has quite a strong aroma. When you taste it, it has a burning flavor. The reason for the strong smell and taste is its contents. Essentially, its oil is the chief content. Up to 15% of the clove content may be oil, and of this quantity, eugenol makes up 70 to 85%, eugenol acetate makes up 15%, and β-caryophyllene makes up another 5 to 12%. This comes to around 99% of the oil, while another 1 or 2% is made up by triterpene oleanolic acid.

The clove has been known by different names in other languages. In Spanish it is called clavo, in Catalan it is called clau, in Portuguese it is called cravinho, and in Tagalog it is called clovas. These names are thought to have been derived from the Latin name clavus, which means “nail” due its shape resembling a nail. It is thought that this name made its way into English through Old French with the name clou. In addition to this, it is thought that the name clove is related to the verb cleave that refers to what use you may have for a nail.

The clove has been an ancient spice popular in Europe, Northern Africa and Asia. Trade between China and the “clove island” Ternate dates back 2500 years. The ancient Chinese used cloves for deodorization. Arab traders are known to have brought cloves with them to Europe when the Roman Empire was in control. At that time, however, cloves were very expensive.

Clove Production[]

Cloves have properties that other spices simply do not have. In addition to the properties that are used for cooking, cloves are also used as remedies for bad breath and tooth conditions. It is because of the demand for clove treatments and its use as a spice in foods that its production has lasted and grown over the years.

Cloves grow in the North Moluccas (Indonesia) and this is said to be its origin. They had also been cultivated on the islands of Bacan, Ternate, Tidore, and on the West coast of Halmahera. Beyond these regions, the Dutch expanded cultivation to other locations in the Moluccas. Until the 18th century, the Dutch remained in control of clove production. When their monopoly over cloves ended, cloves were introduced in other countries.

Unguja and Pemba are important clove production areas. Together, these two places form Zanzibar. Pemba is covered with clove gardens, and it has even been said that when you are on a ship near the island you can smell the clove fragrance. The Sultanate of Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba), which lasted from 1963–1964, even had the clove buds as a symbol on their flag.

In addition to Zanzibar (Unguja and Pemba), cloves are produced on other East African islands. Madagascar is said to be a main production area of cloves. In Indonesia, clove production has increased once more since the Second World War. It is because of its huge domestic market that Indonesia even had to import cloves. From the 1980s onwards, Indonesia has managed to grow sufficient cloves, and today they are able to export this spice to many different regions.

The clove plant grown in different regions has a conical, tropical evergreen myrtaceous tree. It can grow to a height of 14m. It has a gray bark, and its leaves are a shiny dark green. The clove plant leaves are elliptical in shape and are highly fragrant.

On the clove plant, you will find small crimson flowers that grow in triple clusters. The fruit of the clove plant is a purple drupe, which is around 2.5 cm (1”) long. Cloves grow best in tropical climates. They are also thought to grow best near seas. In order for production of cloves to be at its best, rainfall should be at around sixty inches per year or more. However, a dry season is necessary for harvesting and curing cloves. During the harvesting season, clove clusters are hand picked prior to the buds opening, and then they are dried out on masts.

Buying Cloves[]

Cloves are available now in every corner of the world. Whether cloves grow in a particular region or not is not important because these spices can be transported to any part of the world. Also, they are not as costly as they used to be in ancient times. In the days of the Roman Empire, cloves were very expensive, and Arabs were the first traders that brought this wonderful spice to Europe.

China also used this spice more than 2500 years ago, and after the Dutch monopolized the production of cloves, their production spread to other regions. Therefore, from those times onwards, sale and purchase of cloves increased. However, for a long time, these spices were costly in many parts of the world. They were not easily available in many regions because they grow in tropical lands and places where there is adequate rainfall and sea breeze.

Today, you can buy cloves easily. They are not costly, and you get fresh ones too. There is no shortage of them in the market and buying them in bulk is also not a problem. This is because they can be stored easily.

When you buy cloves, you are advised to buy them in their whole form and not in the powdered form. If you do buy cloves in their powdered form, they might deteriorate easily. You should never buy powdered cloves in bulk, as there is no way of storing them for long without them deteriorating easily. However, you can slow deterioration down by storing powdered cloves in an airtight container. You can also store whole cloves in this way. However, deterioration will take on a quicker pace with powdered cloves.

Finally, you need to make sure what you are being sold. You need to make sure that the cloves are fresh when you buy them. You can easily tell how fresh cloves are by the texture and aroma too. A strong aroma would indicate that they are fresh, and the physical condition will also reveal how fresh they are.

You can use cloves for a variety of dishes, and since you have so many dishes that need cloves in them, you may want to buy a considerable supply of them. Certainly, you may do so, but do not overbuy otherwise it might take you a long to use them or they might deteriorate.

Clove Variations[]

The clove is an ancient spice that was used as far back as 2500 years ago in China. Over the years, variations of the clove have been grown in many other countries and are used for cooking as well as treatment of toothaches.

The clove grows in tropical countries well, and grows particularly well in places that have seas nearby. It requires considerable rainfall annually to grow well, but also a dry season for harvesting. Whichever variation of the clove you choose, they belong to the same family and have very similar characteristics. The botanical name for the clove is Eugenia caryophyllus, and it belongs to the Myrtaceae family. The clove is also known by its four other names that represent different variations. These are E. caryophyllata, E. aromatica, Caryophyllus aromaticus and Syzgium aromaticum.

Cloves are known to grow in the following places: North Moluccas, the Spice Islands of Indonesia, China Brazil, the West Indies, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Zanzibar and Pemba.

Though the clove plant is grown in different regions, it generally has the same features. It is conical, and is a tropical evergreen myrtaceous tree. This tree can grow up to a height of 14m.

The clove tree has a gray bark. Its leaves are a shiny dark green, and in shape the clove plant leaves are elliptical and are highly fragrant.

The clove plant has small crimson flowers that grow in triple clusters. The clove plant fruit is a purple drupe, around 2.5 cm long. They grow best in tropical climates.

The clove is a distinctive species. They have a pleasant smell that you simply cannot miss. It has a burning flavor when you taste them. The strong smell and flavor are both caused by the oil in the cloves. The oil content itself is made up of particular chemicals in the following proportions:

  • eugenol 70 to 85%,
  • eugenol acetate 15%,
  • β-caryophyllene 5 to 12% triterpene oleanolic acid 1 or 2%.

Cloves are known by different names in different languages irrespective of their variations. In Catalan it is called clau, in Portuguese it is called cravinho, in Spanish it is called clavo, and in Tagalog it is called clovas.

Clove variations tend to all have the same properties, which means whichever variation you have you can still use them for cooking and also for curing toothaches.

Preparing Clove[]

There are several things that you need to know about cloves. Many people assume that cloves are spices that can be maintained without much care. However, this is not true because cloves can also lose their power if they are not cared for. A clove is a part of a plant after all, and remains fresh as long as it is growing on the plant.

Once the clove is removed it could deteriorate easily. However, its oils are thick enough inside to help it last long. Especially if the clove is maintained in its whole self it will last longer. However, you should store cloves in an airtight container. Some people prefer to buy cloves in their powdered form. However, this means that the cloves could deteriorate faster as they would be subject to greater exposure. You need to keep the clove powder in an airtight container, but you should try and use it up as soon as possible before it goes stale.

Preparing cloves for cooking is simple, and most people use the same methods of preparing them. Generally, when you want to use cloves in a dish, you need to wash them. Some chefs believe that dampening the cloves livens and refreshes them. Other chefs believe that you do not need to dampen them, and that they can be used dry as they are when pulled out of a storage container.

Prior to using cloves you may need to grind them in case you need to use cloves in their powdered form. This helps conceal the whole cloves when a meal is cooked. However, you need to be careful to make sure you do not add in too much clove powder. Otherwise, the strong aroma of the cloves will take over the dish. Using clove powder means that the aroma will be strong as opposed to using cloves in their whole form. You could grind cloves if you need the powdered form of them. However, using a hand grind won’t do, as these spices are quite hard to grind. You need to use an electric grinder in order to grind these spices.

Once you have ground the cloves, either you should utilize the whole amount or store it away in an airtight container and use it as soon as you get a chance to. Indeed, your food will taste great when you use cloves, and some people cannot even imagine cooking their foods without cloves.

Cooking Cloves[]

In order to cook cloves, there are some things that you need to know. You need to first of all realize that it is not a whole food substance that you can cook like meat. It is a spice that has a strong flavor, and you only need the correct quantity of cloves in order to create the right flavor in your food.

Cloves are used in a number of recipes. People in many parts of the world use this spice to cook a wide variety of food. Many households also use it to flavor their mouths and it also is a good remedy for tooth aches.

When you buy cloves from the market. They are best purchased in their whole form. If you purchase them in their powdered form they will not last, which means that you would have to cook them straight away. Some people prefer to use cloves in the powdered form in order to maximize their effect on the food. Cloves cannot be ground easily, and this is perhaps the ground version of it is normally a choice from the market. However, the whole cloves are just as good, but the presence remains quite visible in the food you cook. Some people though may decide to grind cloves with an electric grinder so that they aren’t visible in the food cooked. After grinding them, you need to keep them in an airtight container.

Cloves are strong ingredients that can so easily takeover the taste of the dish being cooked. You need to make sure that you do not add in too many cloves or if you are using a powdered form of cloves, the effect will be even stronger.

Quite often, when people cook whole meat, they flavor it with cloves. You can do this by piercing the sharp side of the clove into the meat. Studding onions in this manner is also often done for soups and stocks.

Cloves are used to flavor wild boar, venison and hare. They may be used in several spice mixtures like mulling spices, ras el hanout, curry powders and pickling spices. Cloves are most popular in North Africa and the Middle East where many kinds of meat dishes are cooked.

Regarding the number of cuisines that use cloves, it is indeed difficult to mention all of them. This gives you some idea of how popular this spice is.

Storing Cloves[]

Storing cloves is important in order to make sure that your food tastes great when you use cloves in them. If your cloves have not been stored properly they may not only have less effect on the food cooked, but they may even make the taste of the food seem bad. This is possible if the cloves are stale and develop a bad taste or if they have mixed with other ingredients.

It is important to store cloves separately in airtight containers. This will help to keep them away from moisture and other spices too. It is important to keep cloves clear of any moisture because moisture ruins the effects of the oils in the cloves.

The effects of other spices also interfere with the taste of cloves. Therefore, it is very important to keep the cloves separately. You may store cloves in plastic or glass containers. Also, you do not need to keep them in a cold environment. You can simply store them in a cupboard in your kitchen.

When you need to use cloves, you may dampen them before using them in their whole form or you may grind them in an electric grinder. Grinding them into a powdered form will create a stronger effect, and you need to be careful about how much you ad in to your food. The reason why the powder is stronger is because there is greater surface area exposed in contrast to the whole clove. However, when you use the whole clove, the oil is drained out into the food and the solid clove is easily put aside when you are eating your food.

It is a good idea to buy small amounts of cloves in order to make sure that you a reasonably fresh stock of them. If you buy too many cloves and do not have a place to store them in bulk they might lose their effect by the time you need to use them.


Cloves have special properties, and it is thought that without this magnificent spice, we would have missed out a great deal. It has been known for years that cloves possess a certain level of chemicals in its oils. Today, these oils are being studied in considerable detail. The exact action of these, with regard to benefiting us or harming us, is not clear. There is more detailed research being conducted presently. However, aside from the research that continues, there are particular characteristics about cloves that are known.

Cloves have particular qualities that may be unmatched by other spices. Cloves chewed on to in their raw form are great for toothaches. Cloves have been so well known for their medicinal properties regarding treating toothaches that there are even toothpastes made with their essence. In modern times, we still see a reflection of this ancient belief, as cloves have been used for many years in few parts of the world. People in these regions had recognized the medicinal properties of this wonderful spice and also learned what an advantage it is for cooking foods as well.

In addition to the way it can cure toothaches, there is research conducted in interesting areas around cloves. With this research, it is thought that cloves have cholesterol-lowering abilities. If so, it should be included in your diet if you suffer from high cholesterol. However, confirmation of this research is yet top come our way.

In addition to the possibility of cloves lowering cholesterol, it is also thought that it might also help as far as reducing heart disease and insulin deficiency as well. These are important areas that could benefit a lot of people in the long run. Therefore, researchers are hopeful for positive outcomes in future research.

Nutritional Research[]

There is significant research being conducted into many foods used regarding their nutrition levels and special qualities. Some research focuses on the use of spices and how they impact us.

Some research conducted on cloves has revealed interesting results. It includes describing cloves as having antiseptic abilities. This reveals a considerable deal about how it is used as a remedy for various purposes. For one, it helps to remove toothaches and is also used as a mouth freshener. Bacteria in the mouth cause both toothaches and bad breath. Using a clove, which has antiseptic qualities, nullifies the action of the bacteria. Thereby, cloves help to reduce bad breath and toothaches.

Additional research has also helped to reveal that consuming cloves helps to combat conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Through research conducted with cinnamon and cloves, it has been suggested that they help to boost insulin function and also lower cholesterol levels in your body. It is still early to confirm these results though because there is need for more detailed research and testing conducted in this area in order to establish with certainty what the capability of these two spices is. Indeed, it is highly possible that further research would confirm the suggested qualities of the clove.

Clove Recipes[]