Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae, Syzygium aromaticum. They are native to the Maluku Islands (or Moluccas) in Indonesia, and are commonly used as a spice. Cloves are available throughout the year due to different harvest seasons in different countries.
Cloves are used in the cuisine of Asian, African, Mediterranean, and the Near and Middle East countries, lending flavor to meats, curries, and marinades, as well as fruit such as apples, pears, and rhubarb.
They are a common element in spice blends like pumpkin pie spice and speculoos spices.
The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia. Clove cigarettes have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia, and the United States. Since 2009, clove cigarettes have been classified as cigars in the US.
Cloves can be used to make a fragrant pomander when combined with an orange. When given as a gift in Victorian England, such a pomander indicated warmth of feeling.
Nutrition and Health Claims
Cloves contain fiber, vitamin K and Manganese. Manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones.
Cloves is also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress.