Latin name: Eugenia aromatica
Cloves are the dried unopened flower buds (see picture
below) of the stately evergreen clove tree which belongs to the myrtle, Myrtaceae genus
and is native to the Dutch East Indies. The name comes from the Latin clavus,
Throughout history, many countries fought
wars over the islands to control the clove trade. Well known to the Chinese,
Persians, Greeks and Romans, the spicy nail-shaped buds were always in demand. In
the early 1800's, clove forests were introduced to Zanzibar. So successful was the
venture that today, Zanzibar supplies over 80 per cent of the clove cultivation in the
world. As a matter of fact, the Clove is responsible for the whole economic
structure of Zanzibar.
The evergreens are not your home tended
variety. Very few people will see the trees in their neighbor's yards unless you
live in Zanzibar, Ceylon, India or Madagascar, along with very few other areas.
Cloves can be cultivated in the seventh year and the trees grow for over 100 years.
There are two annual harvests from July to October and December to January.
In addition to cooking, cloves are used in
pomanders, sachets and as an ingredient in potpourri. Many people also use Oil of
Clove to ease a toothache.
Comments from Your Host
Cloves, whether whole or ground, are
wonderfully aromatic. Just by placing some cloves in boiling water, you can add the
fragrant aroma of cookies baking in the oven. We made orange pomanders two years ago
and still have one hanging in the playroom!
Recipes using Cloves:
Hermits (Spice-flavored cookies)
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