What is a Clove?
Cloves are a species of tropical evergreen tree indigenous to South East Asia and Indonesia, which are most commonly grown and harvested for their flavorful and aromatic flower buds. The clove tree can grow to over 30 feet tall, its bark is smooth, and its leaves are glossy and green.
Cloves are widely used in cooking and baking, in various medicinal applications, and even in ceremonies and rituals around the world. Their distinct flavor is the result of oil compounds, mainly a type of essential oil called eugenol. In cooking, cloves are used either whole or ground, and are used to flavor savory and sweet dishes alike.
In addition to culinary uses, cloves also have multiple health benefits. Cloves contain several powerful compounds, including Vitamin A, Vitamin C, magnesium, dietary fibre, and several others. This combination of compounds make cloves an effective natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including digestive problems, toothache and pain relief, arthritis, headaches, and even flu and colds.
Due to their high antioxidant content, cloves can also be used to fight off free radicals, reduce inflammation, and improve cognitive healthand mental performance. Some evidence suggests that cloves may also help reduce cancer-causing toxins in tobacco smoke, as well as bacteria and viruses, making them a potentially useful tool in fighting off illness and disease.
Cloves have also been used medicinally around the world for centuries. In India, for example, the aromatic qualities of cloves have long been used to soothe congestion and other respiratory issues. In China, cloves are believed to have qualities which help improve circulation and reduce fever. In ancient times, cloves were also used to treat epilepsy and ease teethaches.
In many countries, cloves are also used as a symbol of love, friendship, success, and prosperity. Cloves are thought to bring good luck and are often exchanged between families during special occasions. Clovers are also the official national flower of Indonesia where they are considered sacred by many locals.
The distinctive flavor of cloves makes them popular in many dishes. As a whole, they are often used in curries, marinades, pickles, and glazes, while ground cloves are frequently included in spiced cakes, pies, and breads. Cloves are also a key ingredient in certain spiced alcoholic beverages, like sangria and mulled wine, as well as traditional tea recipes.
In the United States and Europe, cloves are most commonly used in baked goods. Whole cloves are used to stud hams and other meats before roasting, while ground cloves are often used in pumpkin pies, gingerbread, and other desserts.
Cloves may be bought either whole or ground in nearly any grocery store or health food store. When buying cloves, make sure to inspect them for signs of moisture, mold or bugs - all good indications that the cloves may not be of the best quality. If buying ground cloves, always check the expiration date as the flavor will change over time.
Cloves are an extremely versatile spice, making them a must-have ingredient in the kitchen. Their complex flavor and health benefits make them a valuable addition to any recipe, whether it's savory or sweet. With a little bit of knowledge and experimentation, you can easily make all sorts of dishes with cloves.
Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum), also known as laung, are popular spices used in a variety of cuisines and for their properties as a medicinal herb. Belonging to the Myrtaceae plant family and native to Indonesia, cloves are the richly scented flower buds of a tree. The spice is rich in essential oils which give it its sweet, sharp, and warming flavors. Clove is also extensively used in perfumery, dentistry, in cigarettes, as a herbal remedy, and as a spice in flavoring food and drinks. Its aromas are a welcomed part of the holiday season and its culinary use is vast. In this post, I will explore the processes of the clove life cycle that leads the spice from bud to flavorful dish.
Clove trees are those belonging to the Myrtaceae family, which includes eucalyptus, guava, and other tropical and subtropical plants. Clove trees are evergreen, primarily grown in monoculture and tend to be either four or five-meter tall. Cloves grow in tropical and subtropical climates around the world. Indonesia is the largest producer of cloves, contributing nearly 75 percent of the production of the world’s cloves, followed by India and Sri Lanka, who typically produce 5-10 percent each.
Clove tree cultivation
Clove trees must be carefully managed in order to produce ideal results. A well-preserved and managed clove tree will produce for about 40-45 years. Before planting clove trees, the soil must be tested for the correct pH levels of 5.4 to 6.3 and it should have an ideal water supply for irrigation. Fertilizer must also be applied in order to ensure the growth of the tree, as it has a large root system.
After planting, trees should be heavily pruned every three years and require plenty of light, water and fertigation in order to produce health buds and blossoms. Clove trees should also be harvested in cycles. The recommended time frame is three years, where some of the tree is cut, yet the majority is left to grow and produce. Properly harvesting the trees helps maintain their productivity.
Flowering and harvesting
Clove trees are relatively fast-growing and propagate through the production of small, white blossoms with fragrant, delicate appearances. Clove flowers develop in bundles of five to twelve shoots and follow an alternate bearing cycle. The flowering time varies greatly between individual trees, located in different geographical regions and growing conditions, however, it usually lasts from June to August. It will usually take three years until the first harvest can occur.
The harvesting process begins the moment the buds reach the highest degree of maturity. Harvesting of the flowers can be done either manually or mechanically, depending on the respective farm. Manual harvesting is most common, however, as the buds must be removed in the most efficient way. Once the blossoms are cut, the buds are left in the sun to dry out. Since there is a risk of losing moisture due to sun exposure, the buds must turn red before further processing.
The second step in the production of cloves begins with removal of their stems, a process known as de-stemming which is done by hand. The stems of the buds are then separated from the calyxes with the help of machines. The stem is then sent for burning and the calyxes, the parts with the clove buds, is collected and placed in silos in order to further dry and darken in color. The aim of this process is to reduce the moisture content of the clove to 12-15%, making it ready for packaging.
Once the clove has reached the desired moisture content, the clove is then placed into bags for shipping and storage. The packaging process involves a series of checks that ensure that the moisture level is correct, that clove dust and residues are removed, and that all macro- and micro-organisms, if present, are eliminated. This process also helps protect the cloves from moisture during transportation and storage, further helping to extend their shelf life.
Clove is an in-demand seasoning and an important product for spicery. While some cloves are shipped immediately to their intended destinations, such as supermarkets or other retail stores, other cloves are processed further and repackaged into small containers to meet market demand. The cloves, when sold, come in various forms including whole, ground, and oils.
Cloves have been and continue to be used to enhance the flavor of many foods and drinks. Cloves, when whole, are added to soups, marinades, and braised dishes, while ground cloves are popular in numerous desserts and pie fillings. Clove can also be found in beverages such as tea, mulled wine, and even coffees. Its delightful flavor profiles of sweet and spicy make it a welcomed addition to many meals.
In conclusion, cloves are a popular spice used in a variety of recipes and cuisines, both in and out of the home. The journey of a clove bud to dinner plate is a long and intricate process that begins with careful cultivation and pruning of the clove tree to flower, harvest, drying, de-stemming, and more, until it becomes the spice we have come to know and love. Clove trees are the key to getting cloves on our dinner plates, and with special care, they can bear aromatic blooms that are enjoyed around the world.
|Vitamin A||0.008 mg|
|Vitamin E||0.00882 grams|
|Vitamin K||0.1418 mg|
|Vitamin C||0.2 mg|
|Vitamin B1||0.16 mg|
|Vitamin B2||0.22 mg|
|Vitamin B3||0.00156 grams|
|Vitamin B4||0.0374 grams|
|Vitamin B5||0.51 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.39 mg|
|Vitamin B9||0.025 mg|
Daily Value 1.3 g
Daily Value 0.018 g
Daily Value 0.4 g
Daily Value 1.25 g
Daily Value 4.7 g
Daily Value 2.3 g
Daily Value 0.011 g
Daily Value 0.9 mg
Daily Value 0.0023 g
Daily Value 0.055 mg
|Aspartic Acid||0.6 grams|
|Glutamic Acid||0.56 grams|
|Total Sugars||2.4 grams||
|Caproic acid (6:0)||0.01 grams||
|Caprylic acid (8:0)||0.03 grams||
|Capric acid (10:0)||0.13 grams||
|Lauric acid (12:0)||0.04 grams||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||0.26 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||1.86 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||0.68 grams||
|Arachidic acid (20:0)||0.19 grams||
|Behenic acid (22:0)||0.18 grams||
|Lignoceric acid (24:0)||0.49 grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||3.87 g|
|Erucic acid (22:1)||0.02 grams||
|Oleic acid (18:1)||0.99 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||0.03 grams||
|Gadoleic acid (20:1)||0.36 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||1.4 g|
|Omega-3 Timnodonic acid (20:5)||0.01 grams||
|Omega-3 Clupanodonic acid (22:5)||0.18 grams||
|Omega-6 Eicosadienoic acid (20:2)||0.02 grams||
|Omega-3 Alpha-linolenic acid (18:3)||0.59 grams||
|Linolenic acid (18:3)||0.59 grams||
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||2.66 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||4.05 g|
|Total Sterols:||0.26 g|
|Trans-monoenoic fatty acids||0.21 grams||
|Total Trans fat:||0.21 g|