Cloves are the immature flower buds of an evergreen tropical tree, Syzygium aromaticum, in the Myrtle Family. The harvested part we use consists of the long calyx, spreading sepals and unopened petals, which are crimson when harvested. Cloves originate from the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia. The cloves, nutmeg and mace harvested there used to be so valuable that the British, Dutch and Spanish fought wars to control the islands. The strong flavour of cloves comes from a chemical called eugenol. This chemical is a natural anaesthetic and antiseptic, hence cloves are traditionally used to treat toothache. Cloves are used sparingly as a component of Indian garam masala and American pumpkin spice mix, as their strong flavour can be overpowering.
Try this clove orange pomander activity to fill your home with a lovely festive scent this Christmas.