Scattered cloves on a white surface

Clove

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Used whole or ground, cloves are delicious in savoury baked hams and curries or sweet baked goods. Find out how to store, prepare and cook with cloves.

What are cloves?

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.

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How to prepare cloves

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.

How to cook with cloves

Insert whole cloves into baked hams or oranges, apples or onions to add flavour, or add ground cloves to curries.

They can also be used to flavour syrups and baked goods such as our clove sugar cookies.

Watch our video on how to prepare and glaze a ham for roasting:

How to store cloves

Cloves have a long shelf life, lasting up to a year if they are kept in a cool, dark place away from light.

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Alternatives to cloves

Try allspice.