Cloves may look like hardware nails, but they are actually the dried unopened flower buds of the Syzygium aromaticum tree. Cloves can be bought whole or in the ground form. Whole cloves are much more aromatic and flavoursome and if possible try to buy whole cloves as opposed to the ground powder.
Although some cooking recipes will call for ground clove powder, it is possible for you to grind the whole cloves at home. Using a pestle and mortar to grind the cloves is not the best choice, and if possible try to use an electric grinder of some sort, such as a coffee grinder. If you do not have one to hand, you could place the cloves in a plastic bag and crush them with a hammer.
Cloves, as with a number of other spices, may be used and enjoyed in both sweet and savoury dishes. They have a warming, sweet and spicy taste that is suited to curries, marinades or stews, or milk puddings, apple pie or mulled wine.
Making Clove Tea
You will Need:
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp dried cloves
Spice grinder or mortar and pestle
Small mesh strainer
Buy whole cloves, as their flavor is more pronounced than that of pre-ground cloves.
Grind one tablespoon of whole cloves per cup of tea with a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. The clove should not be completely pulverized into a powder but should be ground down to small pieces to allow for straining.
Boil one cup of water (one cup of water per cup of tea you wish to prepare). Leave the pot over the heat source, but turn it off.
Add the ground cloves to the hot water. You can also add other herbs or spices, like dandelion or stevia. Let the mixture steep for 10 minutes for a weaker-flavored brew and up to 20 minutes for a strongly-flavored brew.
Pour the tea through a mesh strainer to filter out the cloves. Dispose of the solids in the strainer, and the clove tea is ready to be served.
Sweeten the clove tea to taste with sugar or honey if desired.
If you make extra, you can refrigerate clove tea in a pitcher. It will keep for a few days. Store whole cloves in a tightly sealed glass container, and keep them in a cool, dry and dark place, and they can last up to a year. Ground cloves will keep for about six months when stored this way.
Warnings: Cloves can cause allergic reactions, as well as some side effects when eaten in large doses. People with liver or kidney disorders who have had seizures should not consume cloves. Cloves can increase the risk of bleeding, so should be avoided when taking medications or supplements with the same risk. Also, cloves can burn the mouth or skin. Clove tea may cause some digestive discomfort, especially before the body gets used to it, so you may prefer to start out drinking clove tea just once every few days.
Love & Cloves