Like other spices, cloves are available throughout the year. They are renowned for providing their uniquely warm, sweet and aromatic taste to ginger bread and pumpkin pie, but they can also make a wonderful addition to split pea and bean soups, baked beans and chili.
Cloves are the unopened pink flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. The buds are picked by hand when they are pink and dried until they turn brown in color. Cloves are about 1/2-inch long and 1/4-inch in diameter and with their tapered stem, they resemble tiny nails. In fact, their English name is actually derived from the Latin word clavus, which means nail. Although cloves have a very hard exterior, their flesh features an oily compound that is essential to their nutritional and flavor profile.
Clove contains significant amounts of an active component called eugenol, which has made it the subject of numerous health studies, including studies on the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants like carbon tetrachloride, digestive tract cancers, and joint inflammation. In the United States, eugenol extracts from clove have often been used in dentistry in conjunction with root canal therapy, temporary fillings, and general gum pain, since eugenol and other components of clove (including beta-caryophyllene) combine to make clove a mild anaesthetic as well as an anti-bacterial agent. For these beneficial effects, you'll also find clove oil in some over-the-counter sore throat sprays and mouth washes.
Like its fellow spices, clove's unique phytonutrient components are accompanied by an incredible variety of traditionally-recognized nutrients. Using our nutrient ranking system, we determined cloves to be an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber, and a good source of iron, magnesium, and calcium.
Cloves are the unopened pink flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. The buds are picked by hand when they are pink and dried until they turn brown in color. Cloves are about 1/2-inch long and 1/4-inch in diameter and with their tapered stem, they resemble tiny nails. In fact, their English name is actually derived from the Latin word clavus, which means nail.
Although cloves have a very hard exterior, their flesh features an oily compound that is essential to their nutritional and flavor profile. Cloves have a warm, sweet and aromatic taste that evokes the sultry tropical climates where they are grown.
The Latin name for cloves is Eugenia caryophyllus.
Cloves are native to the Moluccas, formerly known as the Spice Islands of Indonesia. They have been consumed in Asia for more than 2,000 years. Owing to their sweet and fragrant taste, Chinese courtiers dating back to 200 BC would keep them in their mouths in order to freshen their breath when addressing the emperor so as to not offend him. Arab traders brought cloves to Europe around the 4th century, although they did not come into widespread use until the Middle Ages when they became prized for their pungent flavor that served to mask the taste of poorly preserved foods. While for a long time, they were cultivated almost exclusively in Indonesia, today the leading clove-producing region is Zanzibar in Eastern Africa. In addition to these two regions, cloves are also grown commercially in the West Indies, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, Pemba and Brazil.
Whenever possible, buy whole cloves instead of clove powder since the latter loses its flavor more quickly. When squeezed with a fingernail, good quality cloves will release some of their oil. Alternatively, you can place a clove in a cup of water. Those of good quality will float vertically while those that are stale will either sink or float horizontally.
Even through dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice stores or ethnic markets in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown cloves since this will give you more assurance that the herb has not been irradiated.
Cloves should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cloves will keep for about six months, while whole cloves will stay fresh for about one year stored this way. Alternatively, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator.
Since cloves have a very intense flavor, especially those that have been ground, care should be taken when deciding how much to use in a recipe so as to not overpower the flavors of the other ingredients.
The easiest way to grind whole cloves into a powder is to use a coffee grinder.
For some of our favorite recipes, click Recipes.
Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. They are also a very good source of vitamin K and dietary fiber. They are also a good source of iron, magnesium and calcium.
GI: very low
|vitamin K||5.96 mcg||7||10.4||very good|
|fiber||1.42 g||5||7.9||very good|
Density>=7.6 AND DRI/DV>=10%
Density>=3.4 AND DRI/DV>=5%
Density>=1.5 AND DRI/DV>=2.5%
(Note: "--" indicates data unavailable)
|GI: very low|
|BASIC MACRONUTRIENTS AND CALORIES|
|Fat - total||0.55 g||1|
|Dietary Fiber||1.42 g||5|
|MACRONUTRIENT AND CALORIE DETAIL|
|Total Sugars||0.10 g|
|Soluble Fiber||-- g|
|Insoluble Fiber||-- g|
|Other Carbohydrates||1.23 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat||0.06 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat||0.30 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.17 g|
|Trans Fat||0.01 g|
|Calories from Fat||4.91|
|Calories from Saturated Fat||1.49|
|Calories from Trans Fat||0.10|
|Vitamin B1||0.01 mg||1|
|Vitamin B2||0.01 mg||1|
|Vitamin B3||0.07 mg||0|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin Equivalents)||0.09 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.02 mg||1|
|Vitamin B12||0.00 mcg||0|
|Folate (DFE)||1.05 mcg|
|Folate (food)||1.05 mcg|
|Pantothenic Acid||0.02 mg||0|
|Vitamin C||0.01 mg||0|
|Vitamin A (Retinoids and Carotenoids)|
|Vitamin A International Units (IU)||6.72 IU|
|Vitamin A mcg Retinol Activity Equivalents (RAE)||0.34 mcg (RAE)||0|
|Vitamin A mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)||0.67 mcg (RE)|
|Retinol mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)||0.00 mcg (RE)|
|Carotenoid mcg Retinol Equivalents (RE)||0.67 mcg (RE)|
|Beta-Carotene Equivalents||4.05 mcg|
|Lutein and Zeaxanthin||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin D International Units (IU)||0.00 IU||0|
|Vitamin D mcg||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin E mg Alpha-Tocopherol Equivalents (ATE)||0.37 mg (ATE)||2|
|Vitamin E International Units (IU)||0.55 IU|
|Vitamin E mg||0.37 mg|
|Vitamin K||5.96 mcg||7|
|INDIVIDUAL FATTY ACIDS|
|Omega-3 Fatty Acids||0.03 g||1|
|Omega-6 Fatty Acids||0.12 g|
|14:1 Myristoleic||0.00 g|
|15:1 Pentadecenoic||0.00 g|
|16:1 Palmitol||0.00 g|
|17:1 Heptadecenoic||0.00 g|
|18:1 Oleic||0.04 g|
|20:1 Eicosenoic||0.02 g|
|22:1 Erucic||0.00 g|
|24:1 Nervonic||0.00 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids|
|18:2 Linoleic||0.12 g|
|18:2 Conjugated Linoleic (CLA)||-- g|
|18:3 Linolenic||0.03 g|
|18:4 Stearidonic||-- g|
|20:3 Eicosatrienoic||0.00 g|
|20:4 Arachidonic||0.00 g|
|20:5 Eicosapentaenoic (EPA)||0.00 g|
|22:5 Docosapentaenoic (DPA)||0.01 g|
|22:6 Docosahexaenoic (DHA)||-- g|
|Saturated Fatty Acids|
|4:0 Butyric||-- g|
|6:0 Caproic||0.00 g|
|8:0 Caprylic||0.00 g|
|10:0 Capric||0.01 g|
|12:0 Lauric||0.00 g|
|14:0 Myristic||0.01 g|
|15:0 Pentadecanoic||0.00 g|
|16:0 Palmitic||0.08 g|
|17:0 Margaric||0.00 g|
|18:0 Stearic||0.03 g|
|20:0 Arachidic||0.01 g|
|22:0 Behenate||0.01 g|
|24:0 Lignoceric||0.02 g|
|INDIVIDUAL AMINO ACIDS|
|Aspartic Acid||0.03 g|
|Glutamic Acid||0.02 g|
|Organic Acids (Total)||-- g|
|Acetic Acid||-- g|
|Citric Acid||-- g|
|Lactic Acid||-- g|
|Malic Acid||-- g|
|Sugar Alcohols (Total)||-- g|
|Artificial Sweeteners (Total)||-- mg|
Note:The nutrient profiles provided in this website are derived from The Food Processor, Version 10.12.0, ESHA Research, Salem, Oregon, USA. Among the 50,000+ food items in the master database and 163 nutritional components per item, specific nutrient values were frequently missing from any particular food item. We chose the designation "--" to represent those nutrients for which no value was included in this version of the database.