Where do cloves come from?

Cloves are the dried, unopened flower buds of the tropical clove tree.

The  spicy cloves your mother uses when she bakes ham come from the dried flower buds of the clove tree, an evergreen tree which grows in the Spice Islands and some other tropical lands.

Dried Flower Buds

Cloves look much like little nails.  In fact, the word “clove” is from the French “clou,” or nail.

The flowers of the clove tree grow in bunches.  The buds of these flowers are picked before they open and are dried in the sun.  They dry to a dark brown.

The cloves are about half an inch long.  Each has a knob at one end which contains the unopened petals.

Like many of the spices, such as pepper and cinnamon, cloves owe their strong, spicy taste and odor to fragrant oils that the spice plants make.

Oil of cloves is used as a drug, especially as a toothache remedy, as well as in soaps and perfumes.  Cloves are also ground and used to flavor in such foods as puddings and cakes. – Dick Rogers


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