Monday, December 15, 2008
Spices of the Season: Cloves
Cloves comes from the Latin 'Clovus' which means "nails". Cloves are the unopened flower buds of Eugenia caryophyllus a tropical tree native to Indonesia. The spice is also cultivated in India, West Indies, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Zanzibar. With a pungent and strongly aromatic flavor, cloves can easily over power a dish. Our favorite way to use them is to stud the ham with cloves every Easter. Many recipes call for an onion studded with cloves to make a bouillon, stock or soup. Often used in pickling spices and mulling spices, they flavor venison well also. Worcestershire Sauce has some cloves in it as well.
Medicinally, clove oil is famous for its applications to the gum to numb the pain associated with toothaches. Cloves also help with flatulence and other digestive disturbances. Folklore says that sucking on two cloves helps to reduce the cravings for alcohol.