Cloves are small nailed shaped flower buds that are dried. They have a sweet, somewhat penetrating flavor. Cloves are a staple in Indian cooking and it derives its distinct taste from the concentration of oils it holds. They contain important nutrients, are high in antioxidants, kill off bacteria and may also provide protection against cancer. They are widely used in rice, sauce and meat dishes and are renowned for adding their sweet-spicy taste wherever they are sprinkled.
Ever wondered where clove got its name? The name “clove” comes from the Latin word clavus, meaning “nail-shaped”.
A clove bud is a round-headed spice with a little stem underneath.
Clove has an addictive ”pumpkin spice” like taste. For chai (tea) addicts, the blend of cloves, fennel, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom make for a killer concoction. The flavorful clove adds a powerful aromatic punch to various recipes. It is extensively used in culinary traditions all across the globe.
How is clove obtained?
This aromatic spice is actually an unopened dried flower bud from a tropical evergreen tree. Not only the flower bud but the leaves and bark of the Clove tree are also quite fragrant.
Cloves were originally cultivated in the Spice Islands or Moluccas islands, in Indonesia.
It is believed that a clove tree is grown for every baby who is born in these islands. Therefore, one can find numerous clove trees in Moluccas islands.However, today cloves are grown in regions like India, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and also Brazil.
Flavor of cloves
Cloves have a very strong aroma. Its fragrance is reminiscent of flowers soaked in eucalyptus oil. The flavor of cloves is strong enough to easily overpower other spices.
How to use cloves?
Cloves are used both in whole and ground form.
Cloves are used in baking and specialties like mulled wine and gingerbread.
What to look for while buying cloves?
It is best to buy whole cloves, they are more fragrant. Select plump, aromatic buds and store them in airtight containers, in a cool place.
Powdered cloves cannot be stored for long and should be used up fast.
Health benefits and uses of cloves
Cloves offer many health benefits, some of which include providing aid in digestion, having antimicrobial properties, fighting against cancer, protecting the liver, boosting the immune system, controlling diabetes, preserving bone quality, and containing anti-mutagenic properties, as well as fighting against oral diseases and headaches, while displaying aphrodisiac properties as well.
- Eugenol, a compound found in clove oil, has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-fungal, digestive, and analgesic properties. It also helps with nausea and is said to boost immunity too.
- In Ayurveda, cloves find extensive use to ease breathing problems.
- Cloves and clove oil are believed to alleviate the pain of cavities and cure toothache.
- Clove oil is variously used in aromatherapy, perfumes, and cosmetic products. It helps control skin irritations like acne and burns.
- Clove oil is also used in many insect repellents, mainly for mosquitoes.
One of the easiest way to incorporate this amazing spice in your health routine is by consuming Clove tea.
Whole cloves- 1 tbsp
Water- 1 cup
- Add a cup of water in a pan. Add cloves.
- Bring to boil. Put off the flame after 3 minutes.
- Strain the beverage.
- Add honey if you wish to make the tea sweet.
The best time to savor this healthy concoction is in the morning.
We suggest crushing 2-3 cloves and adding to your tea or rice during cooking for a invigorating aroma with the health benefits.
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