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Cloves info Tips and Information

Cloves info and tips will help you in your cooking and food preparation.These are very useful and quite interesting information that you learn once and then apply at any time you need it.

cloves info

Cloves are one of the most ancient and valuable spices of the Orient. Early references to them can be found in Chinese literature dating back to 266 BC. They found their way to Europe along the caravan routes in 1265 but their source and place of origin were a mysterious secret. In the 16th century the Portuguese discovered the Moluccas or Spice islands now part of Indonesia and thus started a new chapter in clove lore. In 1770 the French took a clove tree into Mauritius from where the spice reached Zanzibar and Madagascar. Cloves were established in Sri Lanka in 1796 and in India in 1800 by the East India Company. The word clove is derived from the French clou and the English clout both broadly meaning nail from the likeness of the spice to a largeheaded nail.

How it grows
Lovers of a tropical environment clove trees are 1215m tall evergreen and straight trunked. The clove of commerce is the air dried unopened flower bud of the tree and grows in small clusters. The fully grown but unopened buds are picked green and dried in the sun until they turn dark brown and woody.

Appearance and taste
Good cloves are dark brown in colour. The buds have a long cylindrical base crowned by a plump beige ball which is encircled by a four toothed calyx. Richly aromatic cloves tend to leave a spectrum of sensations on the palate if chewed on their own. Beginning with a sharp tingling they go on to taste woody and bitter and finally leave the mouth numb and warm. The flavour is so powerful that if too many cloves are used the other havours in the dish are completely lost so they must be used carefully

Buying and storing
Cloves are almost always used whole but they form an important ingredient of blended spice mixtures when ground to a powder. Most people do not actually eat the whole cloves encountered in the finished dish. When buying cloves look for examples that are rich in colour and have their round crowns intact. Good doves should leave a trace of oil if pinched hard. Whole spices including cloves store well for up to a year in a clean cool place

Medicinal and other uses
Clove oil was grandmothers remedy for a toothache and is still widely used to cure aches and pains. Clove water checks the symptoms of cholera and asthma. The anaesthetic action of cloves helps numb the digestive system and reduces gastric irritability. Cloves are used in Indonesian cigarettes which are a heady combination of spices and tobacco. Clove oil is used in the manufacture of perfumes soaps bath salts and as a flavouring agent in medicine and dentistry.

Culinary uses
Used in cooking the world over they can be tasted studded in baked hams in breads and cakes and in mulled wine. In India they are added to rice meats and sweets. Paan or betel leaf is filled with aromatic spices and sweeteners and held together by a single whole clove. This betel quid is a common mouth freshener and tiny paan shops dot every street corner in any city in India.

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