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Clove facts for kids

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Syzygium aromaticum - Köhler–s Medizinal-Pflanzen-030.jpg
Scientific classification
S. aromaticum
Binomial name
Syzygium aromaticum
(L.) Merrill & Perry

A clove (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) is an aromatic dried flower bud of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to Indonesia. A clove tree is an evergreen and grows to the height of 8-12 m. The part used in cookery is a dried flower bud. Cloves are harvested primarily in Zanzibar, Indonesia and Madagascar; it is also grown in India called Lavang, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.

Cloves were once traded in Portugal. Clove was once one of the most valuable spices, a kg costing 7 g of gold.

Use in cooking

Cloves are used in cuisine, lending flavor to meats, curries, and marinades, as well as fruit such as apples, pears or rhubarb. Cloves may be used to give aromatic and flavor qualities to hot beverages, often combined with other ingredients such as lemon and sugar. They are a common element in spice blends such as pumpkin pie spice.

A major component of clove taste is imparted by the chemical eugenol, and the quantity of the spice required is typically small. It pairs well with cinnamon, allspice, vanilla, red wine and basil, as well as onion, citrus peel, star anise, or peppercorns.

Non-culinary uses

The spice is used in a type of cigarette called kretek in Indonesia. Clove cigarettes have been smoked throughout Europe, Asia and the United States. Starting in 2009, clove cigarettes must be classified as cigars in the US.

Because of the bioactive chemicals of clove, the spice may be used as an ant repellent. Cloves can be used to make a fragrance pomander when combined with an orange.

Traditional medicinal uses

Cloves are used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese medicine, and western herbalism and dentistry where the essential oil is used as a painkiller for dental emergencies. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy when stimulation and warming are needed, especially for digestive problems. Topical application over the stomach or abdomen are said to warm the digestive tract. Applied to a cavity in a decayed tooth, it also relieves toothache.

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