We mostly hear the word “clove” when we’re watching videos online for new recipes to challenge ourselves with.
A sophisticated chef might be cooking up a spicy meal and quickly mention “a sprinkle of ground-up clove”.
Cloves are as dear as any other ingredient in the kitchen.
With their pungent smell, the tiny flower buds integrate into all kinds of recipes, from sauces to rice meals.
But, what do cloves taste like, and how can we blend them into our recipe? In this article, we will discuss all about this aromatic knight of the kitchen.
First, let’s find out what exactly cloves are and where they come from.
What are Cloves?
The word ‘clove’ originates from ‘clou,’ a French word that translates to “nail”.
This aromatic ingredient is called so because it takes the shape of a nail.
Being a native spice found in Madagascar and Indonesia, it’s treasured in various international recipes.
Now, they are harvested all over the world.
They are procured from the flower buds of an evergreen tree called Syzygium aromaticum, commonly known as the clove tree.
As they start to grow, they are soon collected at an immature stage and dried under the sun or using a man-made dryer.
Cloves have a reddish-brown hue, with a bulbous spiked top and stretch up to a centimeter.
They can be cooked as a whole or ground up to produce clove powder.
Cloves are fan favorites for recipes like Indian dishes like Biryani or classic bakes like gingerbread.
They are best known for their warm smell and the exquisite flavoring they bring to the pot.
What Do Cloves Taste Like?
Cloves are widely known to have a strong scent that conveys warmth with one whiff.
However, the fierce aroma they provide cannot compare to how our taste buds perceive them.
A clove bud can have a mixture of subtle bitterness, soft sweetness, and a pucker of astringency.
It is said to taste similar to spices such as nutmeg, Jamaican pepper, or allspice, and cinnamon.
Whole cloves are the star guests of several dishes, but the ground clove is the main character of a cup of Masala Chai.
However, ground cloves are comparatively less flavorful and weaker in scent than fresh buds of cloves.
They are used in many home remedies and natural healing procedures.
Owing to their high mineral content, which includes manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and fiber, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have employed cloves for thousands of years.
Cloves have an antibacterial attribute that pairs well with their antimicrobial traits to combat inflammation and boost the digestive system.
They contain the compound eugenol, which helps protect your liver.
They reduce the chances of steatosis, or fatty liver disease, and maintain a strong and healthy liver.
They can also be extracted as clove oil and be used for medicinal purposes.
Since ancient ages, Indian Ayurvedic herbal medicines have incorporated clove oil for its anesthetic features to heal scabies and acne.
Cloves are also great combatants of stomach ulcers.
When your natural mucus begins to thin out, the stomach lining will not be protected from the acid and probably be covered in ulcers.
You can consume cloves regularly to thicken your mucus and protect your body from ulcers as well as other diseases.
How to Prepare and Cook with Cloves?
Although they have an extensive medicinal background, cloves mainly occupy the kitchen space.
They are used to make a variety of dishes, including rice, broth, and sauces.
It is a reputable member of the Indian spice, ‘garam masala,’ that is fused with other ingredients in several Indian curry dishes.
The spice can be used in both sweet and savory grubs.
They are included in many types of desserts, particularly ground cloves.
During the holidays, cloves are usually part of the recipe if you’re craving some pumpkin pie or eggnog.
It teams well with cinnamon and cardamom when making cakes, curries, chicken dishes, and even pasta.
Cloves can be brewed with tea and infused in lighter beverages like a banana milkshake.
Sometimes, they are blended into a syrup to add as a glaze on top of steak or ham.
They are usually unpleasant to munch on due to their dense wooden texture.
So, even though they provide lots of flavor and aroma, they are either discarded before serving the dish or singled out from the platter.
However, some people might be allergic to cloves.
The eugenol content that cloves have can act as an allergen to some.
People with lower blood sugar are advised to consult their doctors before consumption.
The strong-scented flower bud is a spice that you can find easily in stores and can also be stored effortlessly in airtight containers.
It is a great addition to include in your pantry because of its aroma and taste and its health benefits.
The versatility of Cloves does not end in the kitchen because you can even refine them and use them as a homemade mouthwash to fight the bacteria inside the mouth.
They are also excellent ant-repellants.
You can include this organic spice into your recipes in many ways, so start experimenting.
Hopefully, you decide to get yourself a bag of cloves and liven up your house with clove-hinted scents.