Sunday, September 14, 2014

I Didn't Know That - Cloves



Available as whole or ground, cloves are the dried buds of the tropical clove tree, a relative of the myrtle family, which grown in the West Indies and Africa.  The buds are first white, then green, then red.  After they are picked and dried, they turn a dark, reddish brown.  In small quantities, cloves have an aromatic, sweet flavor.  In larger quantities, the flavor becomes quite hot.  Freshly ground cloves provide the most pungent flavor.

Use whole or ground cloves in sweet beverages (mulled cider or wine, fruit punch), in cakes and cookies, and in glazes and sauces for pork and ham.  Also use in chutneys, preserves, pickled fruits, candies, and puddings.  Mix ground cloves and brown sugar or honey into softened butter; serve over beets, carrots, or baked sweet potatoes.  Cloves also are often combined with other spices in baked goods and beverages.

Storage - cloves can be stored in a tightly closed jar in a cabinet or pantry one year for optimum quality.


Clove-Spiced Cider

24 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
4 whole allspice
2 whole cardamom
1 quart apple cider or juice

Tie spices in small piece of cheesecloth; add to cider in medium saucepan.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove spice bag.  Serve hot, or refrigerate and serve chilled.  8 servings of 1/2 cup each.


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