Cloves

Cloves are dried flower buds of a tree and they are of rust-brown color.  The spice got its name due to its resemblance with small irregular nails. The term ‘clove’ found its origin from Latin word ‘clavus’ meaning nail. The spice has a strong aroma which is sweetly pungent and astringent. Cloves have been used in Asia for more than 2000 years.


Cloves are native to Indonesia. Now they are commercially grown in Indonesia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. It has been one of the most expensive spices since ancient times.  In India, the spice is abundantly used, both whole and ground. Most of the requirement of the spice in India is met by imports.

Clove trees are harvested when they are 6-8 years old. The buds are separated from the stem by gentle twisting and pressing. The buds are sun dried.  The process takes 4-5 days. The buds have to be raked frequently so that they develop an even brown color. The final moisture content of the dried bud should be 8-10%.  The dried cloves are then winnowed to remove dirt and dust.

Buying Tips:

  1. Good quality cloves release some oil if pressed with nails.
  2. Preferably buy the intact flower buds than the powdered form because the essential oils get vaporized.
  3. Look for organically grown spice.
  4. Powdered form should be purchased in proper packaging.  Do not buy loose clove powder as the freshens and aroma will not be retained.

Storage:

  1. Cloves should be stored in a cool, dry place.
  2. The spice should be stored in a airtight container.
  3. To increase the shelf life cloves may be refrigerated.
  4. It is better to freshly grind the clove before use.

Culinary Usage:

In Indian cuisine, cloves makes an important ingredient for various recepies.

  1. Cloves are integral part of the spice mixture known as ‘garam masala’.
  2. It is used to flavor tea.
  3. Cloves are used in rice preparations such as ‘biryanis’.
  4. They are also part of some spicy dishes such as curries of kidney beans and chickpeas.
  5. They blend well with poultry and meat.

Cloves have found wide usage in various cuisines of the world. They are integral part of Chinese Five Spices, Moroccan ras el hanout and Worcestershire sauce.

Medicinal Usage:
The main active compound of cloves is the essential oil – eugenol. About 90% of the clove extract is eugenol which has antiseptic and anesthetic properties. There are various health benefits recognized by ‘Ayurveda’  and other eastern traditional medicinal systems. Some of such benefits are being listed below:

  1. Helps in curing indigestion and diarrhea.
  2. Helpful in hernia.
  3. Helps in treating skin infections such as ringworms and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
  4. They are used for alcohol addicts.
  5. In Ayurveda, cloves are said to heal respiratory and digestive infections.
  6. Provides relief in toothache.
  7. Used as a breath sweetener.
  8. Eugenol fights against various bacterial infections.
  9. Eugenol has also been found to have anti-cancerous properties.
  10. Tea flavored with clove gives relief in cough and cold.
  11. It is said to reduce nausea.
  12. It has anti-inflammatory properties.

Home Remedies:

  1. Press a clove bud between the jaws. It gives relief in toothache.
  2. Slowly chew a roasted clove bud to get relief from throat congestion.
  3. Roast 1/2 tsp of clove powder, mix with one tbsp of honey and consume. This prevents vomiting.
  4. Apply warm clove oil on aching joints to get rid of the pain.

Dietary Facts:
Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. They are also a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of magnesium and calcium. Cloves consist of certain types of flavonoids such as kaempferol and rhamnetin which contribute to its anti-inflammatory properties. One recent study claims that cloves are the best natural antioxidants.

Cloves have not been reported to produce any kind of allergic reactions.Regular use of cloves in daily diet should be done to attain all the health benefits of  this rich spice.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100g
Total Fat 0.15 g
Sodium 94 mg
Potassium 370 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10.51 g
Dietary Fiber 5.4 g
Vitamin A 13 IU
Vitamin C 11.7 mg
Calcium 44 mg
Iron 1.28 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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