The word Clove is derived from the word clou which means nail. It is aromatic flower of the flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. It is used as spice in cuisine all over the world. It originates from India. Clove tree is a evergreen tree whose height ranges from 10-20 m. Apart from being used in cuisine, natural clove is also used in other industries for its medicinal use and therapeutic value.
Clove is a native of Indonesia. Clove spice is also grown in Zanzibar, Indonesia and Madagascar; it is also grown in India, and Sri Lanka. According to FAO, Indonesia leads the world in clove production. Nearly 80% of the clove of thew world is produced by Indonesia followed by Madagascar and Tanzania.
Clove seed are planted after prorogation, in shaded areas. It is only at the fifth year that the flowering takes place. The average yield of the plant is around 34 kg of dried buds. In the late summer and again in the winter, the buds are hand-picked and then sun-dried. Zanzibar in Tanzania, is the world's largest producer of cloves. Other major producers are Madagascar and Indonesia.The length of the clove vary between 1/2 to 3/4 inch.
Cloves are frequently used in dishes to impart its distinctive flavor. Since the aroma is strong hence only little is required to be used. They are generally used to "stud" hams and pork,. They are also frequently used in various North and South Indian dishes. In number of spice mixtures like ras el hanout, curry powders, mulling spices and pickling spices, cloves are utilized.