1 lb bag $14.90
Clove is a spice common to the cuisines of widely disparate cultures: Indian, Latin American, Chinese and European. That’s a sure sign of adaptability to both sweet and savory dishes, ranging from pumpkin pie and biryani rice entrees to pickles and good ol’ boy barbecue sauces. Clove pairs well with such diverse spices and flavors as cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, cardamom, peppercorn, onion and vanilla. This versatile spice is the dried flower bud of the clove tree (Syzygium aromaticum), an evergreen native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia. Requiring a warm, well-watered environment, it thrives throughout the tropics. Indonesia is the top producer today. Zanzibar in Tanzania also has a substantial clove industry, as do India, Madagascar, the West Indies and Brazil.
“Pungent” is an adjective often used to describe the taste. Other descriptors include “warm,” “sweet” and slightly “bitter.” Much of the flavor comes from the essential oil, eugenol. Many cooks prefer whole cloves over ground, because the essential oils are not released until heated, crushed or introduced to moisture. Whole cloves maintain their flavor in the cupboard for several years. They can be ground in a mortar and pestle, right before cooking. Of course, out of convenience for those who go through it quickly, we also offer cloves already ground.
Medical research shows that eugenol, because of its antioxidant properties, combats the free radicals that cause so many diseases. Concentrated clove oil has inhibited the growth of cancer cells in laboratory mice. Folk healers have long recognized the antimicrobial action of cloves, which is why the spice figures in mouthwashes and remedies for gastrointestinal infections. Whole cloves, laid out on windowsills, will also discourage ants from wreaking havoc inside the home.
We welcome both restaurant and at-home buyers and offer our whole cloves in bulk, in 1-pound bags.