Cloves are the dried flower buds of the myrtle tree
- A bud is a structure on a plant, often round, that encloses an undeveloped flower or leaf.
- All buds can be harvested and dried; some are used as spices.
- The best-known of the dried flower buds is cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) which is the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae.
- Cloves are native to Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world. The English name derives from Latin clavus 'nail' (also the origin of French clou 'nail') as the buds vaguely resemble small irregular nails in shape.
- Cloves are now harvested primarily in Indonesia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; they are also grown in India under the name Lavang.
- In Vietnam, it is called đinh hương.
- In Indonesia it is called cengkeh or cengkih.
- The clove tree is an evergreen which grows to a height ranging from 8–12 m, having large square leaves and sanguine flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters.
- The flower buds are at first of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting.
- Cloves are harvested when 1.5–2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the center.
- Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly.
- Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian).
- In North Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all rich or spicy dishes as an ingredient of a mix named garam masala, along with other spices, although it is not an everyday ingredient for home cuisine, nor is it used in summer very often.
© Copyright 2010 Malcolm Dalebö