Where do cloves come from 1

Cloves - spice and medicinal plant

Name of the cloves: The Latin name of the clove tree is Syzygium aromaticum or Caryophyllorum aromaticus. The cloves themselves are called Caryophylli salisque or Caryophylli flos in Latin.

The plant belongs to the myrtle family. In common language usage, cloves are also known as nails or nails. Their shape is reminiscent of nails, which is how the name of the spice originated in this and other linguistic areas.


What are cloves?

The cloves are a very versatile spice and are also used as a medicinal product. They are an indispensable part of any kitchen and if you don't know them, you should just try cloves. Definitely worth it. They give dishes a fine taste and are also beneficial to health.

The cloves are the dried, still closed flower buds of the clove tree. This is an evergreen tree that can reach heights of over twenty meters.

How do spice cloves taste?

The cloves smell very aromatic and spicy. They develop an intense taste with a woody note. The clove taste ranges from hot to burning. The cloves contain a lot of essential oils. 15% essential oils determine the taste and smell of the cloves. Eugenol, which is also found in cinnamon, makes up 70 - 85% of essential oils. 15% eugenol acetate and 5 - 12% ß-caryophyllene. The cloves also contain 2% oleanolic acid. The essential oils influence the taste of the cloves.

Where do cloves come from?

Cloves have been known in Europe since the early Middle Ages. Some sources describe the occurrence in India already in antiquity. Cloves are now grown all over the world. They originally come from the Moluccas, the Spice Islands. The Moluccas, a group of islands in Indonesia, between Sulawesi and New Guinea, offer an ideal climate for the clove trees. The trees grow best in a tropical maritime climate. The tree only bears the first flower buds after six years.

The cloves have the highest nutritional content when the buds are still closed. The color then changes from green to yellow or red. Now is the time to harvest.

The best cloves still come from the Moluccas, of Zanzibar and Madagascar. The buds are hand-picked before flowering and then dried. After drying, the cloves are dark brown to black in color. The stem is approximately 0.5 mm long. Three quarters of the original weight after picking is lost through drying.

A clove tree provides between two to four kilograms of cloves per year. After the harvest, the buds are briefly dipped in hot water and then dried on mats by air and sun. The color of the cloves now changes from yellowish or pink to the familiar dark brown color. This is the color of the clove spice that you know. The cloves are then used as a spice or medicinal plant.

Carnation origin.

The island of Pemba and Zanzibar were the largest producers of cloves until the beginning of the 20th century. Today Indonesia is back in first place in terms of carnation origin. 80% of the total amount is produced there.

India, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Brazil, the Antilles and Malaysia are also producers of the popular and versatile cloves.

History and legends of the cloves.

Marco Polo traveled to East Asia between 1271 and 1395, as the first Western European. He found the carnation tree and revealed the secret of where the carnation trees grow. Frances Drake brought cloves to England in his freight in the summer of 1579. Whether they ever got there remains a fabled secret.

However, the Moluccas are definitely the country of origin of the cloves. Traders from Malaysia brought the cloves to India. Arab traders broke them to the Mediterranean and so they came to the Romans.

At times, cloves were more expensive than gold. It was said that Pope Silvester received 75 kilograms of cloves from Emperor Constantine as early as the 4th century. Prince Heinrich showed the Portuguese the way to India in the 15th century. The Portuguese took over the Moluccas. A hundred years later, the Dutch took over the Spice Islands. During the Middle Ages, Venice was the center of the spice trade.

With the takeover of the Moluccas by the Portuguese, the trading center for spices was transferred to Lisbon. The Dutch then moved the trading center to Amsterdam. They now had the monopoly to grow the spice trees. All sea routes were controlled by the Dutch to prevent smuggling of the cloves. The Dutch were able to hold their monopoly for almost 200 years. The birds could not be prevented from distributing the clove trees.

Around 1770, the Frenchman Pierre Poivre brought both clove tree seedlings and nutmeg tree seedlings to Mauritius and the French areas of South America. An Arab brought seedlings to Zanzibar. The cultivation of clove trees gradually spread around the world.

General uses of cloves.

In 2010 the clove was medicinal plant of the year, one of the healthiest spices. The use of cloves is extremely versatile. Cloves are not only an excellent spice, they also offer proven health benefits.

The eugenol has a slightly numbing effect. Therefore, cloves are often used as a home remedy for toothache.

Cloves are said to help against bad breath. There are myths that describe that in ancient China a servant was only allowed to approach the emperor with a carnation in his mouth. People who eat a lot of garlic know that too, cloves make you breath good.

Many effects are ascribed to clove oil, for example it is said to be analgesic, disinfectant, antiviral and fungicidal. They have been recognized as traditional herbal remedies.

Cloves are also helpful for stomach problems. An appetizing effect and a remedy for flatulence and bloating are just some of the possible areas of application.

For coughs and colds, inhalation with hot water and a few drops of clove oil helps. Eugenol and ß-caryphyllene have a relaxing effect on muscle groups in the intestines and the respiratory tract. The clove can be very helpful for coughs, asthma and indigestion.

Cloves can also help with mild rheumatic complaints. To do this, pour half a teaspoon of cloves over with a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for ten minutes and then drink two to four cups a day. Antioxidant effects and the ability to effectively fight free radicals have also been demonstrated when using cloves.

Adding cloves to meat dishes or other foods prevents the fat from oxidizing. Clove oil is obtained in the best quality from the flowers of the clove spice tree. Oils extracted from stems or leaves are nowhere near as good in quality.

Clove oil should only be used very carefully and sparingly. Too much clove oil can damage tissue and lead to allergic reactions and damage to the mucous membranes.

Use of the clove spice in the kitchen.

Cloves are very versatile in the kitchen. Cloves are used in almost all dishes that are difficult to digest, such as red cabbage, sauerkraut and hearty game dishes. They are also an excellent seasoning in marinades, sauces, meat dishes, soups and fish dishes.

Depending on their use, they are either cooked in one piece or used ground. For dishes in which the cloves are cooked, they should be removed after cooking.

The cloves are edible, but the stalks develop a very bitter taste when chewed. The heads of the cloves, on the other hand, have a mild, delicate and piquant taste. In some dishes, therefore, only the heads that can be eaten without any problems are used.

Cloves can also be found in mulled wine, punch and Christmas cookies.

Quality of the clove spice.

Good and fresh cloves feel slightly greasy and look plump. Inferior cloves are dusty, look very dry and very often the head is missing. If you press the handle with your fingernail, it releases a little oil. The quality of the cloves can also be determined with the water test. High quality cloves sink in the water or at least stand vertically upside down in the water. Poor quality carnations swim horizontally on the surface of the water. Bad quality cloves do not have such an intense aroma and the dishes are then lacking the desired seasoning.

The Moluccas still provide the best quality cloves. The cloves of the Moluccas are light brown, oily and large. The best qualities in Africa can compete with the quality of the Moluccas. The West Indies and Guyana provide the lowest quality. The cloves from America are considered to be really inferior, they only have a very low oil content.

Storage of clove spice.

Whole cloves can be stored for two to five years. As with most spices, how they are stored is crucial. The spice should always be stored in well-sealable containers, if possible in the dark. The spice should be protected from light, heat and moisture.

Ground cloves, i.e. finished powder, can be kept for up to 5 years after opening. But you should use it up in 1-2 years to enjoy the full taste.

Tip: Feel whole cloves in a grinder and grind the cloves as needed. Cloves last longer and a pinch of freshly ground clove powder on the plate gives some dishes a fantastic taste.

Cooking tips for cloves.

The cloves are carefully dosed and used to refine many dishes. Some dishes can be perfectly refined by peppering an onion with cloves and cooking it with them. Onions peppered with cloves give broths and marinades in particular a fine taste. This combination gives rice an excellent taste.

Even with the so-called mixed pimples, the pickled vegetables, cloves should not be missing. Of course, this also applies to pickled pickles. These mixtures can be perfectly refined with allspice, ginger, bay leaf, pepper, coriander and cardamom and result in an excellent blend of spices.

But even sweet dishes such as applesauce, pears and jam are given a particularly fine note by adding cloves. A further refinement of the dishes can be achieved by adding cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg and lemon.

With the typical winter drinks such as punch and mulled wine, cloves cannot be dispensed with. Grind cloves with the grinder and sprinkle them freshly on a soup, this is a very easy way to create a completely new taste experience. A fine and spicy taste spreads. However, the clove should also be used very sparingly here.

Make a basil-chili oil with the cloves.

You need:

  • 250 ml rapeseed oil
  • 250 ml of olive oil
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 1 green chilli
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

Put the cloves and basil leaves in a glass bottle. The chilli are cut into narrow strips and also filled into the bottle. Now fill the bottle with the oil. Close tightly and let steep for three weeks. An excellent, versatile oil.

Cloves can also be used very effectively against insects. You take a lemon, cut it in half and sprinkle it with cloves. Wasps and insects will stay away from the smell. After three days you should renew the lemons. In order to provide rooms with a pleasant scent, it is advisable to sprinkle a whole orange with cloves and place it on a plate. The room is filled with a pleasant scent, completely natural.

Spice mixes and cloves.

Quatre Epice from France contains ground cloves. Likewise, the Chinese five-spice powder, the rasel hanout from Morocco, Arabic coffee spices and Indian curry cannot do without ground cloves. The ground clove is also extremely important for the famous Worcestershire sauce. The ground cloves shape the taste of this sauce, which is an indispensable part of many dishes. Gingerbread, spice cakes and honey cakes cannot do without ground cloves. Here they can be combined well with ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg to achieve the typical fine taste.