Seeing as we’re nearing Autumn … with plenty of apples to be found … there are many herbs or spices I could choose from … but the clove came to mind – the aromatic flower bud that in fact I’d associate with Christmas – oranges stuck with cloves for a perfumed pomander ball, bread sauce made with a clove studded onion, or pierced into the baking ham …
|Roast Pork with apple sauce|
… or at this time of year apple sauce with cloves … delicious with roast pork, or cold sliced pork …
|Clove bud flowering|
The evergreen tree of the myrtle family is native to the Spice Islands and the Philippines, but now is grown elsewhere … Sumatra, West Indies, Sri Lanka, India and even Brazil.
|Mauritius - centre of air travel ...|
as it was a stopping off point for those
early discoverers or seafarers
Pierre Poivre (1719 – 1786) was a French horticulturalist, who worked as a missionary in China and Vietnam … who is remembered for introducing the clove and nutmeg plants to Mauritius and Reunion.
|Very early Oil of Cloves|
bottle found in Coventry
The Persians, Arabians and Egyptians spread these little aromatic buds around the Mediterranean ports … until in 1511 the Portuguese discovered the plants for themselves … the Dutch soon gained monopoly of the trade. However in 1797 Sir Joseph Banks introduced the clove to Britain.
It seems the oldest medicinal use was in China where it was reported that they were used for various ailments as early as 240 BC. A Chinese leader in the Han Dynasty required those who addressed him to chew cloves to freshen their breath.
|Bread Sauce with cloves - (they|
need to be removed before eating)
More recently archaeologists have found cloves in a ceramic vessel in Syria, with evidence that dates the find to about 1720BC.
Medicinally however cloves are used for flatulence, for most liver, stomach ailments, as a stimulant for nerves - amongst other 'sufferances'. Clove oil is a tried and trusted friend for troublesome toothaches. Each culture has its own uses for the clove …
As I mentioned for culinary purposes many a dish is not complete without the addition of these highly scented little brown ‘nails’ (cloves) derived from the Latin clavus.
|Pickling Spices with cloves centre stage|
Marinades, curries, pickles – all use cloves … while in Pickwick Papers, Dickens describes a mulled claret and clove-scented punch as being part of the traditional Christmas fare.
|Almost ready for picking and drying|
The dry, unopened flower bud can be used to flavour a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes …. used whole or ground to impart a strong sweet but spicy and peppery flavour – which does need to be used in moderation to avoid over seasoning.
So those ‘nails’ from the Moluccas (Spice Islands) give fragrance to so many recipes – far too many to write about … while offering healing remedies for anyone interested in traditional routes …
|Ham studded with cloves|
It's a little early for Apple Day (often 21st October) ... but the fruits are nearly ripe (especially here in the south) ... and so I look forward to a few delicious meals using cloves ...
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