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Home Remedies, Cloves the Aromatic Flower Bud

Updated on September 30, 2014

Cloves

Cloves History and Benefits

Cloves what are they and how can they help you live a healthier life? Cloves are an aromatic flower bud that belongs to the tree family Myrtaceae Syzygium aromaticum that is native to Indonesia. The clove tree is a member of the evergreen tree family they have large leaves and produce flowers that are grouped in clusters the tree grows to about 8 to 12 feet in height, and the cloves are harvested when they are 1.5 to 2 cm long.

Cloves have been used in hams to spice it up, and even in cookies and muffins to liven them up a bit. I associate the smell of cloves with the fall and winter holidays.

What are they generally used for?

Cloves are used in African, Asian, and the Near and Middle East in many dishes. They are also used as a compliment to some fruits such as pears, apples, or rhubarb. Cloves may also be found in Mexican cuisine. This spice pairs well with vanilla, red wine, allspice, basil, citrus peel, star anise, onion, and peppercorns.

Non-Culinary Uses

Surprisingly cloves have been smoked in Asia, the United States, and Europe. In Indonesia this spice is used in a form of cigarette called kretek. However, in 2009 clove cigarettes were outlawed in the United States.

Clove has been used as an ant repellant, and can be used to make an aromatic pomander when combined with an orange.

History of Cloves

As I mentioned they originated in Indonesia, Moluccas to be exact. History has suggested that in 200 BC the Chinese would chew this spice before meeting with someone of importance in order to conceal bad breath.

In the Middle Ages, cloves became quite popular to help conceal the taste of poorly preserved foods. Sometime later, cloves were used by healers for things like nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, toothaches, warts and worms.

What’s in Cloves?

Cloves contain an anti –inflammatory chemical called eugenol. Eugenol seems to block the COX-2 enzyme that encourages inflammation. Cloves also contain a variety of flavonoids, like kaempferol and rhamnetin. This serves to explain why cloves are so high in anti-oxidants. The anti-inflammatory properties combined with the anti-oxidant properties give cloves a great health benefit.

Health Benefits of Cloves

Cloves help to keep heart disease at bay, stave off cancer, helps to slow down the damage of cartilage, and bones caused by arthritis. When you combine cloves with cinnamon it seems to help to improve insulin function.

This spice is very dense with nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin K. Not to mention it is a good source of calcium and magnesium. The good thing about cloves is that they are not likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Velzipmur aka Shelly Wyatt


Cloves

Buying, Storing, and Cooking with Cloves

The best possible way to buy cloves it to buy them whole, because the powder loses its flavor more quickly than the whole ones, a good clove will release some oil when squeezed with a fingernail. Also the good quality cloves will float vertically when placed in water.

The local spice store is most likely your best bet, even though your local grocery store carries them they may not be as fresh as you would like. I recommend purchasing organically grown cloves.

Your cloves should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container, in a cool, dry, and dark place. Ground cloves should keep up to 6 months, and whole cloves will keep up to one year, shelf life can be extended by placing in the refrigerator.

Preparing and Cooking

Keep in mind that cloves have a very intense flavor and care should be used when cooking with them. The ground cloves are especially intense and will overpower the other ingredients in a recipe if not used with care. If you buy whole cloves the best way to grind them is in a coffee grinder.

Enjoy them

  • You can put whole cloves into an onion and add this to soups, or broths.

  • Add some clove and cinnamon to apple cider

  • Add clove powder to your Thanksgiving or Christmas stuffing recipe.

Cloves

Benefits of Cloves

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