The dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family used to flavour a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes. Cloves can be used whole or ground to impart a strong sweet but spicy and peppery flavour so should be used in moderation to avoid over seasoning.
It’s best to grind whole cloves into powder, using a mortar and pestle, just prior to using them to ensure flavour and freshness are at their peak. Make sure to remove whole cloves before serving as they have a strong, pungent and slightly unpleasant flavour on their own.
To store: Cloves have a long shelf life, lasting up to a year, if they are kept in a cool, dark place.
Used often in Ayurvedic medicine, cloves are anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and analgesic. They’re packed with antioxidants and are good sources of minerals (especially manganese), omega-3 fatty acids, fibre and vitamins.
Temporarily treat a toothache: You can temporarily alleviate the pain by dabbing a little clove oil on a cotton ball and placing it on the sore tooth or on your gums. An added benefit is that it will also pull out any infection.
It is a main ingredient in my Garam Masala blend.