Cloves: Whole and ground

Clove is an ancient valuables spice in the Orient, holding a unique position in the international trade. Sri Lankan clove is largely using as dried whole buds.

This is aromatic, fully grown, unopened dried flower bud. the major products of the tree are the buds, the stem, and the clove oil.

We can find Clove in mid country wet zone areas in Sri Lanka.  mainly in Kandy, Kegalle and Matale District.

The important constituents in clove include essential oils, tannins (gallotannic acid, methyl salicylate, and a painkiller), flavonoids (eugenin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and eugenitin), triterpenoids (oleanolic acid, stigmasterol, and campesterol) and several sesquiterpenes.

Ground clove is using for curry mixtures and clove oil is using for flavoring foods and in the pharmaceutical perfumery industry. Clove is using whole or ground form to provide flavor for both sweet and savory foods for pickling and the production of sauces and ketchup.  Clove oil is using in perfumes, industry and a clearing agent in microscopy.

The clove is a medium-size tree with smooth grey bark and it is very aromatic.

Clove along with nutmeg and black pepper were highly prized in Roman Era. Cloves were traded by Arabs in the middle ages but in the 15th century Portugal took over the trade. Later the Spanish then the Dutch dominated the trade till the 17th century.


Clove Production

Clove propagates through seeds. Tree-ripe fruits shows immediately since the viability of seeds is rapidly lost after 48 hrs of collection. Seeds obtained by removing outer pulp show early and unifor Tree-ripeng. The seeds are sown in perforated polyethene bags consist of equal parts of well-decomposed farmyard manure, topsoil and coarse sand. Bigger plants (15-20 months old) establish better in the field.


harvested cloves
harvested cloves

The clove buds harvest when flower petals change their color from olive green to yellow pink. Clusters of flowers harvest together with the stalks. The harvesting season commences usually in December and extends up to the end of April depending on the locality.

The flower buds should be detached from the stalks soon after harvest. Both buds and stalks are either sun-dried or dried in an electric drier until they become dark brown in color with a hard texture. Well -dried good quality clove is in golden brown color. Poorly dried clove are soft and pale brown with a whitish mealy appearance and are known as “khuker” clove. Green clove buds harvested at the correct stage give about 30% dry clove. Well dried clove (8-10% moisture) can be stored in gunny bags without fungal and insect damages for 1 to 2 years.

Dried Clove
Dried Clove