Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are native to the Maluku Islands (or the Moluccas) in Indonesia and are commonly used as a spice. Cloves are available throughout the year owing to different harvest seasons in different countries.
History of Cloves
Evidence of cloves has been found at Terqa, Syria dating to 1720 BCE In the third century BC, Chinese emperors of the Han Dynasty required those who addressed them to chew cloves to freshen their breath. Cloves reached the Roman world by the first century AD, where they were described by Pliny the Elder By 176 AD, cloves had reached Egypt. The first clearly dated archaeological find of clove is substantially later than the written evidence, with two examples found at a trading port in Sri Lanka, dated to around 900-1100 AD. Cloves were traded by Omani sailors and merchants trading goods from India to the mainland and Africa during the Middle Ages in the profitable Indian Ocean trade.
Other historical facts
Until modern times, cloves grew only on a few islands in the Moluccas (historically called the Spice Islands), including Bacan, Makian, Moti, Ternate, and Tidore. In fact, the clove tree that experts believe is the oldest in the world, named Afo, is on Ternate; the tree is between 350 and 400 years old. Tourists are told that seedlings from this very tree were stolen by a Frenchman named Pierre Poivre in 1770, transferred to the Isle de France (Mauritius), and then later to Zanzibar, which was once the world’s largest producer of cloves.
Until cloves were grown outside the Maluku Islands, they were traded like oil, with an enforced limit on exportation. As the Dutch East India company consolidated its control of the spice trade in the 17th century, they sought to gain a monopoly in cloves, as they had in nutmeg. However, “unlike nutmeg and mace, which were limited to the minute Bandas, clove trees grew all over the Moluccas, and the trade in cloves was beyond the limited policing powers of the corporation.
They are found in whole and ground forms, this versatile spice can be used to season pot roasts, add flavour to hot beverages, and bring spicy warmth to cookies and cakes. You may know cloves as one of the main ingredients in gingerbread baked goods or a staple spice in Indian cuisine. Cloves are best known as sweet and aromatic spice, but they have also been used in traditional medicine. They are having numerous benefits, some of which are penned below.
Cloves contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavour to your food can provide some important nutrients.
One teaspoon (2 grams) of ground cloves contains
- Calories: 6
- Carbs: 1 gram
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Manganese: 55% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 2% of the DV
High in antioxidants
In addition to containing several influential vitamins and minerals, cloves are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress, which can contribute to the development of chronic disease. Cloves also contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. In fact, a test-tube study found that eugenol stopped oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effective than vitamin E, another potent antioxidant.
May help protect against cancer
Some research suggests that the compounds found in cloves might help protect against cancer. One test-tube study found that clove extract helped stop the growth of tumors and promoted cell death in cancer cells. Another test-tube study observed similar results, showing that concentrated amounts of clove oil caused cell death in 80% of esophageal cancer cells. The eugenol found in cloves has also been shown to have anticancer properties. A test-tube study found that eugenol promoted cell death in cervical cancer cells. However, keep in mind that these test-tube studies used very concentrated amounts of clove extract, clove oil, and eugenol. Eugenol is toxic in high amounts and overdosing on clove oil may cause liver damage, especially in children. Further research is needed to determine how lower amounts may affect humans.
Can kill bacteria
Cloves have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria. One test-tube study showed that clove essential oil killed three common types of bacteria, including E. coli, which is a strain of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. What’s more, the antibacterial properties of cloves could even help promote oral health. Another study on 40 people tested the effects of a herbal mouthwash consisting of tea tree oil, cloves, and basil. After using the herbal mouthwash for 21 days, they showed improvements in gum health, as well as the amount of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. In combination with regular brushing and proper oral hygiene, the antibacterial effects of cloves may benefit your oral health.
May improve liver health
Studies show that the beneficial compounds in cloves could help promote liver health. The compound eugenol may be especially beneficial for the liver. One animal study fed rats with fatty liver disease mixtures containing either clove oil or eugenol. Both mixtures improved liver function, reduced inflammation, and decreased oxidative stress. They are also high in antioxidants, which may help prevent liver disease due to their ability to help decrease oxidative stress. Nevertheless, eugenol is toxic in high amounts. One case study in a 2-year-old boy showed that 5–10 mL of clove oil caused serious liver damage.
Cloves are the most well-known in the group of flower spices, are the flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen also known as Syzygium aromaticum. Whole Cloves are reddish brown flower buds used as a spice. Cloves (lavang) were important in the earliest spice trade and are believed to be indigenous to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia. Strong of aroma and hot and pungent in taste, cloves (lavang) are used to flavour many foods. Natural Cloves are a popular flavouring agent used in a variety of ways across the world, particularly in Asia. They form the culinary base in a number of different Asian cuisines. You can buy it online from our Yaadhum store, and use it as a seasoning, either grounded first or used whole.
Chemical Compounds of Cloves
Eugenol comprises 72–90% of the essential oil extracted from cloves, and is the compound most responsible for its aroma. Complete extraction occurs for 80 minutes in pressurized water at 125 °C (257 °F). Ultrasound-assisted and microwave-assisted extraction methods provide more rapid extraction rates with lower energy costs. Other important essential oil constituents of clove oil include acetyl eugenol, beta-caryophyllene, vanillin, crategolic acid, tannins such as bicornin, gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate (painkiller), the flavonoids eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and eugenitin, triterpenoids such as oleanolic acid, stigmasterol, and campesterol and several sesquiterpenes. Eugenol has not been classified for its potential toxicity.
- Nelke in German
- Clou de girofle In French
- Clavo In Spanish.
- Castanea In Latin
Botanical features Of Cloves
The clove tree is an evergreen that grows up to 8–12 metres (26–39 ft) tall, with large leaves and crimson flowers grouped in terminal clusters. The flower buds initially have a pale hue, gradually turn green, then transition to a bright red when ready for harvest. They are harvested at 1.5–2 centimetres (0.59–0.79 in) long, and consist of a long calyx that terminates in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals that form a small central ball.
QUALITY, STORAGE, AND MAINTENANCE
How to check good Quality / identify original / fake / adulteration?
They are widely accessible in both forms on the market, whole and powdered. However, it is advisable to buy whole cloves since the powdered variety has a tendency to lose its taste as well as aroma too early. To check the quality, get a bud and also squeeze it in between your fingernails. Just in case it emits some oil, you have chosen the right clove. Therefore, go ahead together with the batch. Alternatively, you are able to soak a clove in the cup of water. When it is of excellent quality, they will float up and down, and if it is stale, it’ll possibly sink or even lay flat horizontally. While choosing whole cloves, select those that have plump heads, since the buds have the best taste saved in them.
How to store & maintain Clove?
While whole cloves could be stored for around 12 months, ground cloves have a very shorter life expectancy, say about 6 months. Always keep cloves in the airtight glass container, faraway from direct sunlight in the dry and cool location. You can lengthen the life expectancy of whole cloves by putting Then within the refrigerator. It is better to utilize freshly ground clove powder to obtain the optimum taste and flavour. Since whole cloves are difficult and can’t be grounded with a mortar as well as pestle, utilizing an electric grinder, like a coffee grinder, is sensible.
Tips to Use
The flavour of it is powerful. Remember to carefully think about the quantity of cloves utilized in the dish. To provide the dish an Indian touch, include clove buds along with curry powder to the garlic, sautéed onions as well as tofu. Cloves are suitable for the seasoning of broths, soups as well as baked goods. Ground cloves could be spread within the fruit compotes to provide them a tasty punch. Such wonderful benefits of clove turn it into a miracle spice. It is best to add this particular spice in your food and also experience its goodness along with its variety of health advantages.
Check out Yaadhum other natural spices: cardamom
To visit our Instagram page: Instagram