Clove is one of the most storied and oldest herbs or species. In Latin, we can call it Eugenie Caryophyllata. Dating back thousand years, clove herb has a rich of medicinal and culinary history. Nowadays, it is very popular for its powerful aroma. That’s why people often use it to add intense warmth to their dishes.
What Is Clove Herb?
Clove derives from the Syzygium aromaticum flower buds. It is an evergreen tree that belongs to the myrtle plant family. As we know, clove is a powerfully aromatic herb resembling a tiny tack. Today, clove is a famous spice or herb around the world. And, many people use it in various international cuisines.
Where Does Clove Herb Come from?
Originally, clove came from Maluku, Indonesia. It is a prominent Indonesian product. But now, you can also find clove in Zanzibar, Tanzania, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and other tropical areas. You need to know that clove trees grow best in a highly humid environment with 70-80°F average temperature. So, tropical environments are best for this plant.
The History of Clove Herb
In ancient China, people used clove not only in medicine, perfumery, and cooking. However, they also used it as an oral antiseptic for those who met the emperor to guarantee their breath was fresh.
Then, it became the main focus of trade wars between empires from European countries who wanted to control the market of clove herb. Even more, the Ducth took the extreme step by burning clove trees that didn’t grow in the Dutch-controlled islands to guarantee that they had a monopoly on clove market.
What Does Clove Herb Taste Like?
Clove comes with a subtly sweet favor lending plenty of warmth to various dishes. You can pair it well with other sweet spices such as allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Additionally, clove has a bit taste of bitterness counterbalancing the sweetness. Considering its strong aroma and taste, many people use it in most dishes.
What Is the Difference Between Whole and Ground Clove Herbs?
Even though clove comes in whole & ground forms, whole clove is still the most preferred option because the whole bud has more aroma and flavor than the ground. However, you can replace whole cloves with ground cloves. The rule is that you use ground cloves for ¾ teaspoon per a teaspoon of whole cloves.
Compared to ground clove powder, whole cloves have a longer shelf life, too. Moreover, it stays fresh for 10 years since you store it in a cool, dry place using an airtight container.
The Culinary Uses for Clove Herb
Commonly, people use clove herb in spice blends for marinades and meat rubs. It belongs to the most-used spices to make Vietnamese pho. Besides that, people also commonly use it to flavor hot drinks such as hot apple cider, Masala chai tea, and mulled wine. Or, you can use it to flavor sweet dishes such as gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and stewed pears & apple. And, clove is also the main ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.