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Interesting Facts About Cloves

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Being one of the most popular spices in the world, there are various interesting facts about cloves. Though small in size, but this important spice have been associated with the human civilization from the early days in various ways. Here you will find some interesting tid-bits about cloves.The clove buds before harvesting

Interesting Facts About Cloves

  • Cloves are aromatic, dried flower buds in brown color with a shape of nail. These flower buds are picked before they bloom into flower. Initially the buds remain green and gradually get the color of brown by being pink and red.

  • The scientific name of clove is Syzygium aromaticum. It is also known as Eugenia caryophyllata. The name clove came from the Latin word – clavus, meaning nail.

  • The clove tree belongs to the family of Myrtaceae. Being evergreen and conical in shape, this tree can grow up to 10-12 meter long. The clove tree has shiny dark green leaves and small sized crimson flowers having yellow colored petals, which can be seen only if the cloves are not harvested.

  • The native land of clove is Spice Islands of Indonesia or Moluccas. But majority of cloves are grown at the Pemba Island of Tanzania. West Indies, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Brazil and India also cultivate considerable amount of cloves. Usually cloves grow their best, when they are cultivated near the coastal area. According to the old saying – cloves must see the sea to prosper. The rich smell of cloves can be smelt from far and perhaps that was how the ancient explorers could discover the spice land.

  • People of Moluccas believe in performing certain rituals at the time of planting and cultivation of cloves. In past people used to plant a clove tree to celebrate the birth of a new member of the family.

  • Cloves are mainly used as a vital spice for cooking various cuisines from India and Sri Lanka. Americans mainly use cloves in salad dressings, meat and dessert. Cloves are also used in ketchup and Worcestershire sauce preparation. Even many of the Chinese and German seasonings are based on cloves. For the medicinal value of cloves, these are also used in various herbal treatments. In Indonesia, cloves are used to prepare kretek cigarettes after mixing with tobacco with a proportion of 1:2.

  • People of China knew about this spice from as early as 3rd century BC. It was referred as ‘chicken-tongue spice’ in ancient Oriental literature during the Han period. Later, the Roman learnt the use of cloves for cooking purpose as well as medicinal purpose. By the end of 8th century cloves became popular to the European people, also. During the middle age, cloves were considered to be among the most expensive spices. People even fought wars to protect their lucrative business of cloves.

  • Nowadays, cloves are identified among the best four spices of the world, where the others are cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper.

  • Cloves can be stored for long time inside an air tight container. But ground cloves powder loses its smell and medicinal values within few days.

 

Image Courtesy: materiaaromatica.com

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