Information about cloves and clove recipe
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Clove plant belongs to the plant family Myrtaceae (myrtle) and has been
used for culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries. The Botanical name Caryophyllus aromaticus is derived from the Latin "clavus" which means
nail because of the shape resemblance.
dried buds are the parts used for culinary purposes as well as for their
aromatic qualities: pomanders made from citrus fruits and studded with cloves,
were certainly very popular back in the 17th century in England.
and History of Cloves
the clove tree is native to the Molucca (spice) Islands (now a part of
Indonesia) Madagascar, Brazil, Panang, Ceylon, Sri Lanka and Malayasia are also
between the "clove island" Ternate (now Gamalama) and China dates back
at least 2500 years. At that time in China, cloves were not only used for
cooking but also for deodorising. In early writings from the Han dynasty in
China (207 BC to AD 220) it is reported that anyone having an audience with the
emperor had to chew cloves to sweeten their breaths and mask any undesirable
traders brought cloves to Europe around the 4th
century at which time they controlled the market and set the high prices paid by
Europeans. By the early 16th century, Portugal conquered and controlled the
spice islands and continued to do so for over 100 years. Then in the early 17th
century, the Dutch gained control of the trade and continued
to keep prices high for Europeans.
as the spice shipping routes became well established and larger amount of spices
were grown for trade, spice prices in Europe began to drop despite the fact
that the Dutch at one time set fire to clove trees in order to keep the
prices high. By the late 17th Century, many spices, including clove, became
readily available to almost everyone.
British took their turn in the early 1800s, and established clove plantations in
Zanzibar (Tanzania) who now the largest exporter of the spice.
of cloves and Processing Cloves
clove tree is an evergreen which grows up to 20 feet tall and the stem is often
forked with two or three main trunks. is a tropical evergreen plant which grows
to 20 feet tall. It requires a warm humid climate to thrive with deep loam soil
containing a high humus content being best suited for its cultivation.
tree flowers twice every year and it is the unopened buds which are harvested
once the outer green leaves (calyx) have changed from green to a yellow pink.
The buds are harvested in clusters by hand and care is taken not to over pick
which would result in a reduction of future crop yields.
buds are then detached from the stalks, still by hand and dried separately. The
buds must be dried very quickly to prevent them fermenting. This is done in the
sun on mats and usually takes 4-5 days during which time they are raked over for
even colouring. By the end of the drying process, the cloves have become brittle
and dark brown. These are then winnowed to remove dust.
are used in many cuisines worldwide…too many to mention them all. They can be
bought whole or ground and are used in a variety of both savoury and sweet
dishes. They should always be stored in an airtight container.
cloves can be used when cooking fish, poultry and meats, for example in stews,
when pickling fruit and vegetables and as an aromatic addition to hot punches
and mulled wines. Ground cloves are not only used in savoury dishes, where whole
cloves may spoil the texture or appearance, but also widely used as an
ingredient in baking and desserts.
are also included in many spice mixtures. Chinese Five Spice, Indian Curry
powder and Garam Masala, Moroccan ras el hanout and the French quatre épices
amongst them. It is also an ingredient in Worcestershire Sauce.
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