From a great big evergreen tree comes a tiny little spice called Clove. At Christmas time, whole cloves pierce ham skins all over the Caribbean and infuse them with a sweet pungent aromatic flavour which can be tasted even down to the bone. Such is the power of clove.
Not only is clove a culinary star with versatility, but it has been used as a natural remedy to relieve digestion problems and as an expectorant. If you are going on a first date, some clove oil will help to ensure the ‘sweet nothings’ you whisper do not offend .
Clove has a long history in the Caribbean, having been brought to the West Indies in the 19th century from Indonesia. Clove was a very valuable trading commodity during and before that period, with the Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch wrestling control of the industry from each other .
It is hard to imagine that clove, in its original form, is a small flower bud. The scientific name is Syzygium aromaticum whose buds start out green and turn to a rosy peach colour when fully opened. However, the flowers are picked before they start blossoming . They are then dried, becoming the dark brown colour seen when purchased.
Like nutmeg, clove finds its way into beauty products, toothpaste and perfumes . Clove cigarettes are popular in Indonesia, but since you’re probably trying to quit smoking, brew a hot ‘cuppa’ clove tea instead. That’s the way Grenadians get their kick.
By: Michelle L. McDonald
Michelle L. McDonald has been writing since her teenage years, when she started posting entries in her diary. Since then, she has developed this hobby into becoming a Features writer and Blogger. Since 2003, her work has been published in the Jamaica Gleaner, SHE Caribbean and on www.caribbeancricket.com profiling International cricketers and writing “off the field” features from the Caribbean and the United Kingdom. On www.yamfoot.net Michelle posts candid stories about living in the Caribbean. Professionally, she is a freelance Service/HR Advisor and Trainer and is based in Grenada and Jamaica, although she considers all of the Caribbean her home.