Cloves are called Laung (pronounced as long) in Hindi and Punjabi, Lavinga in Gujarati (pronounced as loving), Lavang in Marathi (pronounced as love-ung), Lavankapattai (pronouced as love-ing-aa-putt-aee) in Tamil. Cloves are a spice made from the flower buds of an evergreen tree called, the clove tree. Cloves are a pungent spice found in savory dishes, desserts, and drinks. Clove flower buds are harvested in their immature state and then dried.
Appearance, Taste, and Smell
Laung or Cloves are dark, blackish-brown in color and usually around 1 centimeter in length, with a bulbous top. Cloves are highly aromatic and when bit into, taste warm and spicy. Cloves can be used whole or ground, and they have a very strong, pungent flavor and aroma. The flavor comes from the compound eugenol. On the tongue, you’ll detect sweetness, bitterness, and astringency (drying the mouth), with a noticeable amount of heat.
Cloves form a very important part of several dry masala powders used in Indian cooking, such as Garam Masala. They are used whole in several curries and also fried with other whole spices (khada masala) like peppercorns, cardamom, and cinnamon and added to various dishes. They are also used in sweet, hot drinks and desserts as their ‘warm’ flavor goes well with sugar. Clove is rarely used alone in its powdered form in Indian dishes. Store cloves by themselves in a clean, dry glass container with an airtight lid.
Contain Important Nutrients
Cloves are low in calories but a rich source of manganese. Cloves contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so using whole or ground cloves to add flavor to your food can provide some important nutrients. Manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones. Apart from being a rich source of manganese, cloves are only used in small amounts and do not provide significant amounts of nutrients.
• It provides us various nutrients.
• Cloves are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that reduce oxidative stress.
• A test tube study found that clove extract helped stop the growth of tumors and promoted cell death in cancer cells.
• Cloves have antimicrobial properties.
Uses Other Than Cooking
• Cloves are traditionally used in India as a mouth freshener.
• Clove oil can be used as a repellent to mosquitoes and ants.
• Clove oil has strong anti-fungal properties so can be used to treat acne and warts.
• Clove oil applied on a cotton bud or even chewing a single clove relieves toothaches. Clove oil is an important component of many kinds of toothpaste.
• According to Ayurveda, cloves improve circulation, digestion, and metabolism. They are also used to prevent and treat stomach disorders like distention and nausea.