Clove is a pungent warm spice with an intense flavor and aroma. On the tongue, you’ll detect sweetness, bitterness, and drying the mouth, with a noticeable amount of heat. Similar warm spices include nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.
Cloves are renowned spice for their uniquely warm, sweet taste to the dishes. Its distinct sweet and spicy aroma lends dishes and pastries a unique flavor. Cloves are the immature unopened flower buds of a tropical tree. When fresh, they are pink, dried, they turn to a rust-brown colour. They resemble small nails, with a tapered stem. The large end of the clove is the four-pointed flower bud. Whole Clove is the best to buy than the powdered, flavor quickly deteriorates. Often used to enhance the flavour of meats, curries, biriyani, sweets etc.
Whole or ground cloves are used to flavor sauces, soups and rice dishes, notably a number of traditional Indian dishes, and it’s one of the components of garam masala. We have to remove the whole cloves either before serving or picked out of the dish; Even when cooked, whole cloves have a very hard, woody texture that would be unpleasant to bite into. We can often pair cloves with cinnamon or nutmeg, but in general, it’s a good idea to use cloves sparingly.
Clove plant description and cultivation
A Clove tree reaching heights of up to 14m (45 ft.). Small crimson flowers grow in triple clusters at the ends of branches. The fruit is a purple drupe. Cloves grow in the tropics and best near the sea. Rainfall must be at least sixty inches per year and a dry season is needed for harvesting and curing. The clove clusters are picked by hand before the buds open and dried on palm mats.
We have to store cloves in an airtight container, preferably in a cool and dark place. Whole cloves will retain their potency longer than ground cloves, remaining fresh for about 24 months compared with three months for ground cloves.
Cloves are best bought whole. As a powder flavour quickly deteriorates. Being extremely hard, it is difficult to grind cloves with a mortar and pestle so an electric grinder such as a coffee grinder is recommended. Store in an airtight container out of direct light.