Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Herbs and Spices -- Cloves



I decided to do a series on some of the herbs and spices we use at Christmastime. I know a lot of you are experts on this subject already, but I have many new subscribers and maybe some of them are herb and spice novices.
Let's start with Cloves (Eugenia Caryophyllata) since it's the standby use most often from Thanksgiving right through New Year's Day.

Did you ever wonder where cloves come from? It's actually dried seeds from an evergreen tree also called a clove. It's native to the Spice Islands, and requires so much water that no other plant or tree can grow near it.

Cloves are used medicinally (such as for a toothache) as well as for cooking purposes, but one of the favorite uses today is still to decorate an orange covered with cloves in intricate patterns creating a very aromatic pomander. This practice goes back to Renaissance England.

So whether you're using cloves for a cake, a pie, cookies, or a festive Holiday punch, you will know that this is one kitchen item that ties you to your ancestry - connecting us to Christmas Days of yore.


Don't forget to visit An Herbal Bedfellow for healthy recipes made with herbs, and also my newest blog:
Happenstance House -- A journal about my Victorian home and all of it's contents.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...
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The Quintessential Magpie said...

Jane Marie, thanks for this suggestion on herbs. I might try that studded orange. My mother used to do that, and I always loved them.

XO,

Sheila :-)