CLOVES are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Not only are cloves fragrant and aromatic, many consider them to enhance the feelings of love.
Throughout history, many have remarked that the clove resembles small brown nails, thus its name comes from the French word “clou” which means nail. The clove is actually the dried flower bud of an evergreen tree.
Clove contains significant amounts of an active component called eugenol. The dental industry uses eugenol extracts from clove in conjunction with root canal therapy, temporary fillings, and general gum pain. Some mouth washes use clove.
Eugenol, also functions as an anti-inflammatory substance. Clove also contains a variety of flavonoids, including kaempferol and rhamnetin, which contribute to clove’s anti-inflammatory (and antioxidant) properties. Eugenol is an effective insect repellent, and a component in perfumes.
Cloves are one of the world’s oldest and most popular spices because its aromatic and spicy smell and taste compliment many food dishes. The use of cloves goes back in history…the Chinese used them as far back as 226 BC…and the Romans enjoyed them. Apparently, the Romans would chew the flowerets prior to having an audience with the Emperor so that their breath would not smell bad. Along with nutmeg, cloves were one of the most precious spices of the 16th and 17th century. This spice originated in Indonesia and now grows in many places today.
Cuisines all around the world use cloves both whole and powdered. They act also as a food preservative. How many of you pushed cloves into a ham garnished. The clove scent is common to perfumes, and using cloves in oranges as a decorative pomander is a popular European tradition during the Christmas holiday season. I remember pushing cloves into oranges as it emitted a wonderful holiday scent.
Because of its historic past, different cultures have incorporated the clove into their culinary dishes. You’re probably familiar with studding a ham with clove to enhance the ham with this aromatic spice. In France, they insert a clove into an onion for use in chicken stock. In England, they grind it up and mix it with apples. In India, they eat cloves with betel nuts, (a nut often chewed like tobacco and has some of the same effects) and are an ingredient of curry powder used in Indian cooking. Cloves can actually go with most anything, in their whole form or ground up. They are also an interesting garnish. I’m sure you’ve probably added them to your pumpkin pies. Why not enjoy them in a hot tea blend after dinner.
A search on the internet for recipes using cloves will yield a plethora of choices such as:
Baked Stuffed Apples With Cinnamon Allspice and Cloves
Texas Hot Apple Cider
Holiday Cranberry Sauce