Cloves Spice – Syzygium aromaticum
Cloves spice are dried flower buds from the Syzygium aromaticum tree.
Cloves trees will produce fruit for 30 years. The first harvest is when the trees are about five years old. The trees are harvested twice every year.
A clove tree may produce as much as 3 kg (6 lb.) cloves on a yearly basis.
New flower buds are picked as soon as they turn pink before the petals open.
They need to be picked before the petals opens in order to keep the lovely aroma intact.
The buds are dried in the sun. It is important to constantly shake the buds when they are drying to avoid fermentation.
During the drying process the buds will turn brown.
When the buds are dry the stalks are removed and voila the buds are now ready to use as the spice we all know as cloves.
The name “clove” comes from the Latin word “clavus” which means nail.
Undoubtedly the shape of the cloves spice does resemble a nail.
Almost 20 % of the clove consists of essential oil.
Clove essential oil is used widely in aromatherapy.
Clove essential oil is also used in candies and blends of other spices.
Clove essential oil is not an uncommon ingredient in perfumes.
Clove oil can be used on insect bites to relieve the pain.
Some chew cloves to ease the pain if they have a toothache or they may dab a little clove oil on the gum.
For this purpose clove oil can be mixed with olive oil or water.
Ground cloves and whole cloves are used for seasoning in cooking around the world. It is common to use cloves to flavor pickles, ham and mincemeat.
Cloves also go well with cooked apples. Some cake recipes also include ground cloves.
Other uses: Whole cloves are used in potpourris.
Clove Health Benefits
Cloves have painkilling properties and are used in dentistry.
Cloves spice are a warming spice and good for people who easily are prone to colds.
Cloves spice tea has been used to relieve nausea caused by travel sickness.
Cloves spice tea is also used by some to fight depression.
Cloves help protect against intestinal parasites.
Cloves can cause uterine contractions and should be avoided by pregnant women.
Many truly enjoy the divine fragrance flowing into the room when cloves are pushed into an orange.
This clove and orange scent is especially popular around Christmas time.
Folklore and History
In Indonesia some used to plant a clove tree when a baby boy was born. The health of the clove tree would reflect the boy’s health.
The cloves symbolized little phalluses and were thought to boost male potency.
Cloves have been used in Chinese medicine for 2000 years.
In Ancient China it was customary for anyone speaking to the Emperor to chew on a clove as this was said to sweeten the breath.