Cloves, Whole or Ground
Cloves are by far the most prominent of the spices known as "flower spices."
Just before the buds blossom, they turn pink, at which point they must be harvested immediately. One tree yields about a seven-pound harvest. The flavor of the clove is rich, sweet and sultry. The high percentage of eugenol will produce a numbing effect if you put a whole clove in your mouth. In fact, before modern anesthetics, dentists often prescribed that their patients with toothaches pack cloves around the infected area to numb the pain.
In Indonesia, where cloves grow freely, great amounts of cloves are also imported for their use in Kretek cigarettes, which are a blend of tobacco and ground cloves. In France, an ingredient crucial to any stock is a whole onion studded with cloves. In the USA, we use whole cloves primarily to stud ham or pork roast. Ground cloves are used in desserts, cakes, pies, custards, and liqueurs. Cloves can also be used to make lovely, long-lasting scented pomander balls. A half cup of Spice Islands cloves contains about 400 - 500 cloves. The Ceylon whole cloves will have about 300 - 400 cloves per half cup, but these are superior for craft projects since they are larger and have whole heads.
Although cloves are now grown around the world, originally cloves were native only to a handful of tiny islands near Indonesia. At the height of the Age of Exploration, European nations fought each other for control of these Spice Islands, the only place in the world to get precious cloves and nutmeg.
We import two grades of cloves. Our Ceylon cloves are the very finest cloves available. They are hand-picked and selected for size and perfection. These cloves are whole and unblemished, with large pale heads and a strong sweet flavor. Spice Islands cloves have an excellent, if slightly sharper flavor, but are not as carefully selected and are smaller and more broken. When the whole cloves will not show up in your final dish, these cloves are perfectly adequate. We grind both grades together on our premises to produce our powdered cloves. Freshly ground and carefully stored, this powder will amaze you with its strong flavor and aroma.
We also offer Organic Whole Cloves.