Sunday, 24 June 2012

Clove Actually!

Do you ever cook with cloves? I’m sure you know that they are the dried flower buds of an evergreen tree native to eastern Indonesia. Cloves are such a versatile spice – for use in both sweet and savoury dishes. The BBC Food site gives loads of examples of recipes containing cloves.

Cloves 3

I use them in apple dishes [my Mum always sprinkled them rather too liberally in her apple pies] I love to stud hams with them, having first scored the fat in a diamond pattern.

At Christmas, it is fun to press them into a small orange or satsuma, like an old fashioned pomander [and then at Easter to discover a small shrivelled thing like a shrunken head which managed to roll under the sofa during the festive season and get forgotten!]


Some people swear by Oil Of Cloves for toothache [or chewing on the spice itself] but this has never really worked for me.

But this weekend I was utterly fascinated by a story on the BBC Website about the Oldest Clove Tree in the world. It is called Afo [nobody knows why] and has been around for between 350 and 400 years! It is on the island of Ternat in Indonesia.

clove tree named Afo BBC

Simon Worrall’s article is brilliant – and the sort of article which makes history come alive, and gives one new respect for the spices in the kitchen.

What’s your favourite clove recipe?

[and I do not mean cloves of garlic!]


  1. Nothing quite like playing 'hunt the cloves' in a bowl of kitcheri (vegan kedgeree)!
    Jane x

  2. In Cyprus they drop 1 clove in the teapot

  3. I'm a tad scared of cloves, but my recipe for huge apple pie- Delia's- uses an inordinate amount of them. I usually at least halve the quantity, but that's about it on strawberry clove usage! Excepting the Christmas ham studs, though this year it transpired to be a Christmas pork...

  4. I like a little clove in my pumpkin pie, but I do not put any spice but cinnamon in my apple pie. I did not know that cloves came from Indonesia. Remember clove chewing gum?

  5. I add three cloves and a bay leaf when making chicken stock; it really brings out the flavour.

  6. I tend to use it very sparingly - a little clove goes a long way, I think - usually in Indian-type dishes.

  7. Thanks for the ideas- will try a clove in my next batch of stock, and kedgeree.

    But 'clove chewing gum'?? never heard of that one PomPom! I am a regular minty-fresh gal!!


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