Clove, (Syzygium aromaticum), tropical evergreen tree of the family Myrtaceae and its small reddish brown flower buds used as a spice. Clove flower buds are harvested in their immature state and then dried. Whole cloves are shaped like a small, reddish-brown spike, usually around 1 centimetre in length, with a bulbous top. Cloves can be used whole or ground, and they have a very strong, pungent flavor and aroma.
Cloves were important in the earliest spice trade.
Cloves are a pungent spice found in savory dishes, desserts, and drinks. Ground or whole cloves flavor meat, sauces, and rice dishes. Cloves are often used along with cinnamon and nutmeg in sweet dishes, especially "pumpkin pie" flavored items for the autumn and winter holidays, and in drinks such as mulled wine, cider, or chai.
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