How to Cook with Cloves
Whole cloves are used to add extra flavor to savory dishes that cook for a long time like roasts, ham, and rice. They will still be woody after cooking, so remove the whole cloves before serving.
Ground cloves are often used in pies, usually paired with fall spices like cinnamon. You can buy ground cloves at any grocery store. You can also grind down whole cloves yourself using a mortar and pestle.
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Where to Find Cloves
You could go to Madagascar, where clove trees cover thousands of acres of the islands. But the easier trip is to any supermarket, where they will usually stock both whole and ground cloves.
How to Store Cloves
Whether whole or ground, keep cloves in a cool, dry place with a tight-fitting lid. Whole cloves will keep for as long as four years, ground cloves should be replaced at least every other year. If you have cloves sitting around, give them a sniff. They should have a pungent odor. If not, restock your supply next time you go to the store.
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Worth Their Weight in Gold
People have been cooking with cloves for at least 4,000 years. For most of that time, they only grew in one place--the Maluku or "Spice" Islands. In Britain, more than 8,000 miles away, an ounce of cloves cost more than an ounce of gold!
Thankfully for holiday bakers, the price has come way down. Many holiday treats just don't have the same flavor without cloves!
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