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Spices Unearthed: Clove

what is clove? what does clove look like, smell like, taste like?

Have a toothache, bad breath, and bland food?  Nothing a clove can’t fix.

One of the most recognizable spices with its distinct shape, it is no mystery why the word clove is derived from the Latin word for nail. This nail-shaped spice is actually a dried, unopened flower bud from a tropical evergreen tree.

where does clove come from? clove tree

The source of the clove tree, like the nutmeg tree, was a mystery for thousands of years. It was kept secret by the sheer distance and remoteness of a few tiny islands making up part of the Maluku Islands, otherwise known as the “Spice Islands” (now part of Indonesia).  It’s amazing that cloves originating there had already reached the Middle East four thousand years ago!

Two thousand years ago, the Emperor of China must have despised workers with bad breath since many of them chewed on cloves before daring to speak with him.  Or maybe they all had toothaches?  The essential oil in clove, eugenol, acts as a strong antiseptic and pain reliever that dentists still apply today.

how to cook with clove?


But like any spice, the best use for clove - whether in whole or ground form - is in the kitchen.  It has a warm, sweet, and intense flavor.  Without the key ingredient of clove, your masala tea (chai), biryani, garam masala, Vietnamese Poh, Chinese Five-Spice, Easter hams, and many Christmas desserts, just wouldn't taste right.

Intense may be an understatement though. Bite into a clove and you’ll know why.


For a taste of clove, try one of these excellent recipes:
indian green mango relish with cloves
Green Mango Relish with Whole Spices - Love Food Eat
carrot soup with clove spice
Carrot Soup - food loves writing
mutton curry with clove and lots of spices from singapore little india
Mutton Peratal (Dry Mutton Curry) - Life is Great
clove ice cream from dinners and dreams moroccan recipes
Clove Ice Cream - dinners and dreams
easy beef stew recipe
Minnesota Beef Stew - Season with Spice
christmas mulled wine recipe
Christmas Mulled Wine - Season with Spice

More Recipes with Clove


4 comments:

Emma Gardner said...

I had no idea a clove was an unopened bud! Thanks for enlightening me. My favourite way to use cloves is in traditional bread sauce with a chicken roast dinner.

Souleating said...

This is a great post! :) Additionally, a little bit of clove oil is mixed with mineral oil to make Japanese choji oil, which has been used to oil Japanese blades for centuries.

seasonwithspice said...

Thanks Emma for sharing your favorite way of using cloves.

seasonwithspice said...

Thanks Soul Eating. It's true, many spices can be used as natural agents for cleaning and in this case oiling Japanese blades.

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