Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum, syn. Eugenia aromaticum or Eugenia caryophyllata) are the aromatic dried flower buds of a tree in the family Myrtaceae. Cloves are native to Indonesia and used as a spice in cuisines all over the world. The English name derives from Latin clavus 'nail' (also the origin of French clou 'nail') as the buds vaguely resemble small irregular nails in shape. Cloves are now harvested primarily in Indonesia, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka; they are also grown in India under the name Lavang. In Vietnam, it is called đinh hương. In Indonesia it is called cengkeih or cengkih.
The clove tree is an evergreen that grows to a height ranging from 8–12 m, having large square leaves and sanguine flowers in numerous groups of terminal clusters. The flower buds are at first of a pale color and gradually become green, after which they develop into a bright red, when they are ready for collecting. Cloves are harvested when 1.5–2 cm long, and consist of a long calyx, terminating in four spreading sepals, and four unopened petals which form a small ball in the center.
Nomenclature and taxonomy
In Urdu it is called as Laong, In Kerala state (India) it is called 'Grampoo' in local language Malayalam. In Hindi, it's called 'Lavang' and many Indian languages have names similar to it. In Telugu, it is called 'Lavangam' i.e., లవ౦గ౦ or 'Lavangalu' i.e.,లవ౦గాలు (in plural). In Sinhala it is called 'Karabu Nati' i.e., කරාබු නැටි (in plural). Scientific name of clove is Syzygium aromaticum (Linn.)Merrill & Perry syn. Eugenia Caryophyllata. It belongs to the family of Myrtaceae. It is classified in the order of Myrtales, which belong to superorder Rosids, under Eudicots of Dicotyledonae. Clove is an Angiospermic plant and belongs to division of Magnoliophyta in the kingdom Plantae
Cloves can be used in cooking either whole or in a ground form, but as they are extremely strong, they are used sparingly.
Cloves have historically been used in Indian cuisine (both North Indian and South Indian). In North Indian cuisine, it is used in almost all rich or spicy dishes as an ingredient of a mix named garam masala, along with other spices, although it is not an everyday ingredient for home cuisine, nor is it used in summer very often. In the Maharashtra region of India it is used sparingly for sweet or spicy dishes, but rarely in everyday cuisine. In Ayurvedic medicine it is considered to have the effect of increasing heat in system, hence the difference of usage by region and season. In south Indian cuisine, it is used extensively in biryani along with "cloves dish" (similar to pilaf, but with the addition of other spices), and it is normally added whole to enhance the presentation and flavor of the rice.
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