One of the most commonly used winter spices, clove is a powerhouse of health benefiting properties. It is widely used in a number of food preparations across various cuisines to add a distinct flavour; however, its health properties are quite underestimated. According to the book 'Healing Spices' by Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal with Debora Yost, "In tradition and folk medicine, clove and clove oil have been used for a variety of ills - indigestion, for nausea, gas, diarrhoea, bloating, and colic; against infections of all kinds; for muscle spasms, and to prepare for labour; for skin problems, including acne, ulcers, and sores; as an aid to memory; and even as an aphrodisiac. And, of course, for toothache."
Growing and harvesting cloves is tricky because they have to be picked by hand at precisely the right time. However, it's not necessary to go out of your way to buy exotic cloves. If you are looking to buy best cloves for yourself, we're here to help. Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal lists down some easy ways in his book to buy cloves. Read on to know more about them:
- For culinary flavour, what's more important is keeping cloves as fresh as possible; that means buying them whole and grinding them yourself. Once ground, store them in an air-tight container as they start to lose their volatile oil, which weakens their aroma.
- When buying, look for cloves that are large - meaning you can clearly make out the head and stems. (Penang cloves are the largest.)
- Do look out for their colour. If they are reddish-brown, then it means they are fine. Other than this, you should be able to recognise the four would-be petals of the bud and the stamen inside them, forming the nail-like head. You don't want to buy cloves that look like little bits of sticks; those are just stems.
- Whole cloves will keep for a year, if stored in an air-tight container and away from light and heat. Therefore, how you store them makes a lot of difference.
So, the next time when you make a visit to the grocery store, do keep in mind the above mentioned pointers before putting cloves in your shopping basket. Happy cooking!
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.