Cloves are so defined because the dried flowers take on a very dark color, becoming similar to nails. The plant is called in technical jargon, Eugenia caryophyllata, and belongs to the Myrtaceae family. The cloves were already known by the Chinese who used them to treat abdominal pain, various osteo-articular pains, toothache and as an aphrodisiac food; an anecdote that has come down to us states that the Chinese emperor was chewing daily a few cloves to combat halitosis. These flowers are rich in essential elements for our body such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, sodium and vitamin A, which is why their use is very suitable for adolescents and adults. Most of the world's production is located on the island of Zanzibar, but they are also cultivated in China, Indonesia and India. In Italy they are little known but in the rest of the world they are an element that is found in many culinary recipes and even cosmetic companies use them as essence in perfumes and body creams.
The cloves in medicine
Today cloves are a natural remedy that can be purchased in herbal medicine or in large supermarkets to combat nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other digestive and gastro problems. They are also available in the form of oil which has an important antiseptic and anti fungal function, mouth disinfectant and is an excellent draining and anti-inflammatory lotion for the skin.
The cloves find a valid use in homeopathic medicine for their innumerable properties: eugenol oil and flavonoids, both present in the chemical composition of this spice, play an important role in counteracting water retention, favoring diuresis and stimulating the blood circulation. The infusion of cloves is suggested to cure fungal infections (infections caused by fungi) that affect the hands and feet or bacterial infections that occur in the oral cavity; in fact some toothpastes sold in herbal medicine, have in their mixture a high percentage of cloves for the characteristic property already mentioned. Another virtue of this precious spice is that it is a powerful natural antioxidant: it counteracts the harmful action of free radicals, keeping the body young and fighting the onset of cellular aging. In fact, a few months ago, a study conducted by the Spanish university of Alicante was published in a famous American health magazine, which proclaimed the carnation nails as the king of antioxidants because in addition to free radicals it also fights the oxidation of acids fats and bad cholesterol. Always consult your family doctor before taking this spice because it is particularly contraindicated for pregnant women and people suffering from high blood pressure, ulcerative gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
The cloves in the kitchen
Cloves have a high energy content and are widely used as ingredients in some foods due to their very intense aroma and their very spicy taste. Cloves are widely used in both savory and sweet recipes: this spice goes well with sweet-tasting vegetables such as onions, onions, courgettes, vegetables in oil or vinegar and carrots. They are accompanied with some molluscs and as far as meat is concerned they are suitable for seasoning roast beef, pork or white meat like game which includes rabbit and turkey. Finally, this spice is also used in the maturing of some cheeses. As for the sweet dish, it can be combined with apples, both cooked and in the form of apple tart and is a main ingredient of mulled wine. It is important to know the exact dose of cloves in the preparation of a dish: a nail left in infusion for 8 minutes is enough to season a portion. Here is a very simple and easy to prepare recipe for cooking cloves or "Roast with cloves". Take a handful of rosemary and two small cloves of garlic and chop them with a knife; in the meantime cut a piece of pork (the shoulder or the loin) with the tip of the knife and place the mixture inside. Salt and pepper the roast, place it in a large pan with plenty of water to cover the meat completely and pour in five cloves. Cook the meat for about 60 minutes and add more water if it evaporates; at the end of cooking you can serve and serve even without the side dish.
Cloves for your home
This spice can be a valid help for housewives who can solve some domestic problems in a "biological" way.
If you have problems with the annoying moths in your cabinets, cloves are for you: place about 50 g of nails in a small bag and place it in your closet or drawer; you will see that the very intense fragrance will remove the insect; you can repeat the same operation in the kitchen pantry, which is often an easy prey for butterflies of flour and pasta. Finally, cloves are also an important natural insecticide: pour 100 ml of water into a small bowl and add 2 nails with a drop of lemon juice; this solution will keep flies and mosquitoes out of your window forever.