Ground Cloves, Syzygium aromaticum, are actually dried, aromatic flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Indigenous to the Maluku Islands (historically known as the Spice Islands), they are typically used as a spice. Clove gets its name from the similarity of the flower buds of this plant with a rusty clove.
The taste of cloves is fruity, but sharp and bitter with a hint of heat. They leave a bit of a numbing sensation in the mouth. The aroma is warm and assertive with peppery undertones.
When and Where to Use Ground Cloves
Add a dash of cloves to baked beans, barbecue rubs and sauces, chili, tomato sauce and spaghetti. Cloves are an excellent compliment to apples, beets, red cabbage, carrots, chocolate, hams, onions, oranges, pork, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, squash, and in cranberry juice.
Cloves work well when paired with allspice, bay, cardamom, cinnamon, chili, coriander, curry leaves, fennel, ginger, mace, nutmeg and tamarind.
In our country, whole cloves are traditionally used to stud pork roasts and hams.
You should always remove whole cloves prior to serving any dish.
Both whole and ground cloves are very potent, so begin with smaller portions. For a serving of 4, use approximately 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves and work your way up from there (you can always add more if you desire more flavor). For cooking with whole cloves add 3 or 4 to each 2 quarts of stock.