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Friday, February 22, 2013


Clove tree
Photo from: Spice up the Deal Project
OCast clauo de gilof, clavos de girof, girof’¡le, girofla, pimienta prolongada, clavo de especies, Gr. garifalo, L. Eugenia caryophyllata, Ar. qrenfel, Fr. giroflier, ME clowe, clouwes pl., gilofre, Eng. spice clove or clove flower of a girof. The word “girof” is used but generally recipes call for the spice clove. The name “clove” is derived from the Latin clavus or the French meaning ‘spice nail’ for the unopened button flower buds that grow on the clove tree, which is a native of Tidore, Ternate and two of the Moluccas or the Spice Islands. When the cloves reach full size, the closed buds are hand picked. Then they are sun dried for several days. During this process, they shrink to two-thirds of their size and weight and turn dark brown.

Dried Cloves
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Historically, the clove was one of the big four spices with nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper. As cloves are very pungent, sharp and aromatic, they are used to enhance sweet or savory foods, such as meats, breads, desserts, fruits, wines and liquors. The clove is a powerful food preservative for meat, especially pork.

Cloves were not used in European food dishes generally until the end of the 13th C although it is known that Catalan spice merchants were selling cloves there and exported them to England between 800-1200. Nola calls for ‘mother of cloves’ in some of his recipes, meaning he wants some nice big cloves.

Mixing Ground Cloves with Sugar
Photo by: Lord-Williams
After the clove entered the European kitchen, it came to signify healing and psychic powers. The clove is an antimyeotic and an effective  disinfectant used against colibacilli, pneumococci, staphylococci and streptococci. The oil, obtained by steam distillation of discarded parts of the tree, is used for its digestive, stomachache, antiseptic and stimulant properties. It has been used to prevent diarrhea and infections from wounds. As the leaves, cloves have a pungent, assertive, dark aromatic odor and burning taste. They are applied locally for pain relief. They, as well as the oil from the tree, work like novocain, leaving a lasting numb sensation in the mouth when bitten. They are added to medicinal toothache remedies. From the early times through the Middle Ages, they were so valuable that they were exchanged for slaves and gold[Curye. 1985:179; ES: Collins. Apr 1, 96; ES: Gavalas. Sep 23, 02.; ES: Cloves. May 22, 02; ES: “Etimología.” Jun 12, 98; ES: Herbs. Oct 8, 02; ES: RAE. 2001; ES: Adamantius. Jan 3, 08; Gázquez. Cocina. 2002:258; Nola. 1989:xii-1:xii-2;xii-3 etc; and Nola/Iranzo 1982:168]

Clove Electuaries
Photo by: Lord-Williams
#533. ŶUWĀRIŠ DE CLAVO, p 288  


½ oz cloves
1 c   sugar
1/8-1/4 c rosewater


Grind cloves. Add them to the sugar. Dissolve the mixture in rosewater to make a paste. Make electuaries in the form of fingers and tablets using 1-2 tsp of the paste. Eat them at meals for their benefits. They excite the appetite, dissolve the phlegm (clearing it), increase the force of coitus and help one’s metabolism.

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