Cloves (spice) and wooden spoon close-up food background

The Magic of Cloves

One of the strongest spices in your cabinet, the clove is also among the most storied. Nail-like in shape, whole cloves are the dried flower buds of a tropical evergreen tree. They’ve been used in African, Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines for thousands of years and are found in two popular ethnic seasonings. Chinese five spice powder and Garam Masala.

Intensely flavored and fragrant, cloves are often ground and used to lend savory warmth to spiced holiday sweets like pumpkin pie and gingerbread or kept whole for studding a holiday ham.
They’re also one of the main ingredient is Worcestershire sauce and some barbecue sauces.

Beyond their culinary uses, the oil extracted from cloves is commonly used as a mild anesthetic for tooth and gum pain. Cloves also continue to be studied for their anti-inflammatory and anti fungal properties.

Ideas for using cloves:

  • Add nuts and ground cloves to your favorite stuffing recipe.
  • Push a single clove into an onion in chicken stock and soups.
  • Add ground cloves to winter fruit salads.
  • Mix ground cloves into batters of sweet breads and muffins.
  • Poach pears with cinnamon, cloves, wine and simple syrup.
  • Make a fragrant pomander by pushing whole cloves into an orange or clementine.
  • To scent you home for the holidays, add vanilla, cloves and orange peel to a pot of boiling water.
Article by: Lisa Coleman

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