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A clove is the dry, unopened flower bud of the tropical myrtle tree family and is used to flavour a wide variety of sweet and savoury dishes. Cloves can be used whole or ground to impart a strong, sweet, spicy flavour, so should be used in moderation to avoid over seasoning.
It's best to grind whole cloves into powder using a pestle and mortar just prior to using them to ensure flavour and freshness are at their peak. To stud an ingredient with cloves, stick whole cloves into it so that the bud heads protrude. Make sure to remove whole cloves before serving as they have a strong, pungent and slightly unpleasant flavour on their own.
Insert whole cloves into baked hams or oranges, apples or onions to add flavour, or add ground cloves to curries.
Watch our video on how to prepare and glaze a ham for roasting:
Cloves have a long shelf life, lasting up to a year if they are kept in a cool, dark place away from light.