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 believed to be native to the Molucca 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.
Cloves are an important ingredient in the spice blends of Sri Lanka and North India. They are used in garam masala, biryanis, and pickles. In the U.S., cloves are used in meats, salad dressings, and desserts. 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.
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