Species: Eugenia caryophyllus
Other names: Syzygium aromaticum, Caryophyllus aromaticus
Appearance: The fresh flower bud is pink or red and dries to a dark brown. The clove is cone-shaped, and the name “clove” actually comes from the Latin “clavus” and means “nail.”
Typically used: Whole or ground
Origin: The evergreen clove tree originates in the Indonesian Spice Islands and is now cultivated in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Tanzania.
Flavor: Strong, sweet, and pungent.
Aroma: Warm and aromatic.
Culinary uses: A little goes a long way with cloves. Only a few are needed in a dish to impart it’s distinct flavor. Cloves are pushed into (“stud”) meats before cooking, and onions before thrown in soups. The spice pairs well with wild game, are used in various spice mixes, including some curry powders, and are included in many meat and rice dishes from the Middle East and North Africa. It pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine and basil, as well as onion, citrus peel, star anise, or peppercorns.
Other uses: Cloves are often used for their aromatic properties in potpourris. They also act as an ant repellant and breath freshener.