What Is Cloves?
Cloves are the dried, unopened, nail-shaped flower buds of the evergreen Syzygium aromaticum. They are reddish-brown in color and have a strong, aromatic flavor and aroma. The many branches of the tree are semi-erect with smooth oval shaped leaves. The branches end with a 3–4 flowers near the tip with one terminal flower and the others opening below it. The leaves, flowers and bark all have a distinct smell. The clove is the unopened flower buds. The tree grows 8–15 m (26–50 ft) tall and can live to be more than 100 years old. The clove tree may also be referred to as tropical myrtle and are native to the Molucca Islands.
Cloves Plant and Cultivation
The clove tree is a 8-10m (25-33ft), tropical evergreen tree. Clove flower buds change over 5-6 months from green to pinkish-red, then are picked and sun dried for 4-5 days. The buds are quite waxy and both the flowers and leaves are very similar to an Australian gum tree, showing their Myrtaceae connection. As the buds dry, they turn brownish-black. Clove seed are planted after prorogation, in shaded areas. It is only at the fifth year that the flowering takes place. The average yield of the plant is around 34 kg of dried buds. In the late summer and again in the winter, the buds are hand-picked and then sun-dried.
Clove is a small reddish brown flower bud of the tropical evergreen tree Syzygium aromaticum. The tree reaches the height of 14m. The bark of the tree is gray whereas the leaves are dark green and have shiny appearance. The leaves of the tree are elliptical and are very fragrant. At the end of the branches small crimson flowers grow in triple clusters. Harvesting and curing is done in dry seasons. The cluster of the clove is picked by hand and then they are dried.
Uses of Cloves
Cloves are often combined with oranges to flavor cider or mulled wine, or even as a simple, natural air freshener. Cloves combine well with other spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. Cloves pair well with many different types of meat where they are pushed into the surface like pins in a pincushion before baking to lend a deep, spicy flavor. In the Middle East, cloves are a common ingredient in chutneys, curries, and chai tea blends. The warm spice is used to flavor sweet fruit dishes and savory meat dishes alike. Cloves are also popular in Mexican cuisine, where it is often combined with cinnamon, cocoa, and cumin.
10 Health Benefits of Cloves
1-Lowers your blood sugar levels – Clove can lower your blood sugar levels and keep diabetes under check. This spice works by inducing an insulin-like activity in the body that helps beat insulin resistance. The study also showed that eating clove on a regular basis can help in keeping diabetes at bay.
2-Helps improve digestion – Cloves not only improve your ability to digest food but also expel intestinal gas (due to its carminative property). In addition to this, the presence of essential oils in this spice reduces inflammation and kills the bacteria present within the stomach.
3-Can relieve acidity – For people with acidity, clove can be a life saver. Not only does it improves digestion but also coats your stomach and throat with mucus that can significantly reduce the symptoms of acidity. Apart from that, clove also improves peristalsis (the action of muscle contraction to keep food within the stomach) and keeps acid from rising into your throat.
4-Can lower your cholesterol levels – The study stated that the innate properties of clove help reduce triglyceride and cholesterol levels in your body. It is believed that adding about 10 grams of clove powder in your daily meal can protect you from the ill effects of high cholesterol.
5-Maintains your overall oral hygiene – Clove oil or clove itself contains potent anti inflammatory components that help reduce the swelling around an infected tooth. It not only kills harmful bacteria present in your mouth, but also helps to numb out the pain that you experience. Apart from that, it also beats bad breath by cleaning the tongue, palate (the top of your mouth) and the upper part of your throat of any bacteria and decaying matter. Its strong aromatic qualities also alter the smell within the mouth thus helping you to deal with foul breath.
6-Helps you breathe free – Clove is packed with a number of amazing components and one of the most important one is eugenol. Known to have expectorant properties, eugenol plays a key role in relieving a congested chest or sinuses. Also, the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of this spice help to wipe out infections. According to Ayurveda, clove is known to spread warmth around the area it comes into contact with, thus loosening up congested phlegm.
7-Can relieve joint pain – Laung is known to have a pain-killing effect and can beat inflammation as well. The spice is known to spread a warm sensation over the applied area and hence, helps in relaxing the affected muscles. This is the reason that it is a great way to beat arthritic, rheumatic and any other kind of joint pain.
8-Beats a sore throat – The main function of clove in remedying sore throat is that it acts as an anti-bacterial agent and helps beat the pain associated with a sore throat. It also helps soothe the itchy feeling you experience during a sore throat.
9-Helps you relax and fight stress – Due to its strong yet soothing aroma, clove is great to help you relax. Eugenol - abundantly present in clove - is also a well-known muscle relaxant. Apart from this, it is also known to be a potent aphrodisiac. This is the reason clove helps to awaken your senses and put you in the mood for some fun!
10-Gives you clear skin – If you are sick of using various creams to get rid of blemishes, your kitchen might hold clue for the same. Clove acts as an instant natural remedy to get rid of blemishes and pimples, because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It also prevents blemishes or marks that usually appear after a pimple has subsided.
Producing Countries of Cloves
Indonesia is the largest producer and consumer of cloves. Cloves are native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia. Indonesia produces around 75,000 tons of cloves each year, which is roughly 80 per cent of the world's production.
Cloves are commercially harvested primarily in Indonesia, Madagascar, Brazil, Bangladesh, India, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.
Consuming Countries of Cloves
Cloves consumption around the world is increasing day by day. Indonesia is the world’s largest clove – producing and consuming country. In Indonesia cloves are used to make the ‘kretek’, clove –flavoring cigarette. Saudi Arabia, USA, France, Singapore and India are the major importing countries. The USA is the world’s largest importer and takes most of Brazil’s Cloves exports. India is a very large consumer of cloves and sources most of its supply from Sri Lanka.
Recipe for Beverages with Cloves
A: 2 Sups of Water
B: 1 Teaspoon Whole Cloves
C: ½ Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg
D: ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
E: Few Drops of Lemon Juice
F: Agave nectar or honey (optional)
A: Lightly crush the cloves and put into a saucepan with the nutmeg and cinnamon.
B: Add a cup of water and heat to boiling. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
C: Turn off the heat and let steep (sit) for 5 minutes.
D: Pour through a tea strainer and, if using, add the lemon juice or honey or both.
Recipe for Cooking With Cloves
Sweet Spice PicklesIngredients
A: 3 Pounds Pickling Cucumbers, Sliced ¼” Thick (do not use waxed cucumbers)
B: 1/3 Sup Salt
C: 2 Cups Sugar
D: 3 Cups White Vinegar
E: 2 Teaspoons Whole Cloves
F: 8-10 Cinnamon Sticks
A: Place cucumbers in a container, add salt and top with cold water until covered. Refrigerate for 24 hours before draining liquid (do not rinse).
B: In a large pot, add sugar, vinegar, allspice and cloves and bring to a boil.
C: Fill glass canning jars with the cucumbers and cinnamon sticks, placing at least two sticks in each jar.
D: Pour the hot pickling liquid over the cucumbers, taking care to make sure some cloves and allspice are in each jar.
E: Cover jars and refrigerate for at least 48 hours to complete the pickling process. Pickles will keep in refrigeration for up to one month.
Recipe for Dessert With Cloves
Clove Cake With Caramel FrostingIngredients
A: Sifted all purpose flour - 3 Cup (48 tbs)
B: Ground cloves - 1 Tablespoon
C: Ground cinnamon - 1 Tablespoon
D: Baking powder - 1 Teaspoon
E: Baking soda - 1⁄2 Teaspoon
F: Salt - 1⁄8 Teaspoon
G: Seedless raisins - 1 Cup (16 tbs)
H: Shortening/Butter/regular margarine - 1 Cup (16 tbs), softened
I: Sugar - 2 1⁄4 Cup (36 tbs)
J: Egg - 5
K: Buttermilk - 1 Cup (16 tbs)
L: Easy caramel frosting - 100 Gram
A: Preheat oven to 350F.
B: Lightly grease 10-by-4- inch tube pan.
C: Sift 2-3/4 cups flour with the cloves, cinnamon, baking powder, soda, and salt; set aside.
D: Toss raisins with remaining flour.
E: In large bowl of electric mixer, at medium speed, beat shortening until creamy.
F: Gradually add sugar, beating until mixture is light and fluffy—about 5 minutes.
G: In small bowl, beat eggs until very light and fluffy. Blend into sugar mixture at medium speed, using rubber scraper to clean side of bowl.
H: At low speed, alternately blend flour mixture (in thirds), and milk (in halves), into sugar-egg mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat only until blended. Stir in floured raisins.
I: Pour batter into tube pan; bake 60 to 65 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
J: Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes. Gently loosen with a spatula; turn out of pan onto rack.
K: Cool completely — about 1 hour.
L: Frost with Caramel Frosting.
M: Slice into wedges and serve. Makes 16 servings.