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More About Cloves

Malay Spices - Cloves (Bunga Cengkih)

There are more about cloves to learned here that as decoration for the buttons of your ginger breadman cookies. Cloves are the dried, unopened, nail-shaped flower buds of the evergreen Syzygium aromaticum. They are reddish-brown in color and have a strong, aromatic flavor and aroma.

Cloves are an important ingredient in the spice blends of Sri Lanka and North India. They are used in garam masala, briyanis, and pickles.

Clove is a key flavor contributor to ketchup and Worchestershire sauce seasoning blends. Chinese and German seasonings also depend on cloves to flavor meats and cookies.

More about cloves in history

Cloves are believed to be native to the Molucca (Maluku) Islands of Indonesia. Although Indonesia is the largest producer of cloves, Zanzibar and Madagascar are the major exporters, where clove trees cover thousands of acres of the islands.

Historically, cloves originating from Madagascar have been considered superior.

The name cloves comes from the French "clou", meaning nail. The first references to cloves are found in Oriental literature in the Han period in China under the name "chicken-tongue spice".

From the 8th Century on, cloves became one of the major spices in European commerce. When the clove forests were first discovered in Indonesia, all were enchanted with the fragrance and beauty of this tropical evergreen tree which "must always see the sea" in order to thrive.

However, I know for a fact cloves can be grown in hilly terrain without proximity to the sea. My late mother-in-law who used to live in the plantation area of mountainous Gua Musang in Kelantan grew cloves successfully in her garden.

Cloves were extremely costly and played an important part in world history. Wars were fought to secure exclusive rights to the profitable clove business. In the Maluku islands, where cloves were first found, parents planted a clove tree when a child was born.

Penang used to grow plenty of cloves back in the 19th century. Now, there are several farms left but they are mostly for research purposes by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Malay spices include cloves a lot, even in sweet cookies where the cloves are used as decoration as well as flavoring.

Extract of cloves are also used in dentistry, the white paste dentist use before filling your cavity contains cloves.

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