Nelken

Syzygium aromaticum

Cloves are the dried flower buds of an evergreen tree that thrives best in coastal tropical climates. In the wild, it can become 100 years old and grow up to 12 metres high. In cultivation, it is usually kept to a height of up to 6 metres. Shortly before blooming, the flower buds are picked and dried, thereby becoming extremely hard and changing colour from red to the typical brown colour of cloves.

Countries of origin

Moluccas, Penang, Java, Philippines, West Indies, Zanzibar, Réunion, Madagascar
The clove tree is originally native to the Moluccas or Spice Islands, a group of islands in Indonesia between New Guinea and Celebes. In Germany, cloves are mentioned for the first time in 973 B.C. German mystic and healer Hildegard of Bingen included the dried buds among her collection of medicinal herbs. The major exporters of clove today are almost exclusively Madagascar and Zanzibar, although it continues to be cultivated on the Spice Islands and on Pemba Island off the coast of East Africa.

Flavour and aroma

Cloves have a distinctly warm, fragrant aroma. The flavour varies from spicy sweet to hot, depending on the amount added. Ground cloves should be used sparingly. Pork roast, red cabbage, sauerkraut, game dishes, marinades, mulled wine and pickled products, lebkuchen, desserts and compote Whole cloves are frequently used together with onions and bay leaves to season stews, braised dishes, marinades and pickled vegetables. Cloves are indispensable when it comes to aromatising mulled wine, punch and other hot drinks. Ground cloves are common in Christmas cakes and cookies, other spicy baked goods, bread, dark sauces, compote and fruit preserves. Clove essence is used to make herb liqueurs and cordials. However, the majority of the worldwide harvest goes into the production of cigarettes consumed in Indonesia and Asia. As a rule, the higher the standard of living in a given country there, the greater the consumption of clove cigarettes. This leads to a shortage of export volumes and thus higher prices.


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