Autumn is finally here and all we want to do is cosy up beside a warm fire while enjoying some seasonal fall flavours.
When temperatures start to lower and leaves start to change colours, we know that autumn has officially arrived. It's our absolute favourite season, as we love chunky jumpers, hot chocolate and scarf season, but mostly we love the reintroduction of some of our favourite flavours.
Of course, flavours know no time-constraints, but there are some that just taste better in autumn, which is what this new series is all about. Over the next few weeks, we'll be taking a closer look at some of our favourite fall flavours to help you adjust to the demise of summer.
First up we looked at an all-American classic; cinnamon. This week, we're taking a closer look at cloves.
What Are Cloves?
Pungent and aromatic, cloves a spice made from the flower buds of the clove tree. They are dried before use and can be used ground or whole. Particularly common during autumn and winter, cloves are often used along with cinnamon as part of the dominant flavours associated with fall. You can often find cloves used in mulled wine and cider, along with a multitude of different seasonal drinks and dishes.
While also grown in India and Madagascar, cloves are mostly associated with Indonesia. The area was so popular in the 17th century that the Dutch colonisers agreed to swap New Amsterdam, now known as Manhattan, for access to the lucrative spice islands.
Cloves have a distinct, intense flavour that evokes a fair amount of warmth. The heat associated with cloves is so powerful that they are often used in smaller amounts than similarly warm spices, like nutmeg.
Cloves have always been used for home pain remedies, especially toothaches, as they contain eugenol which is an anti-inflammatory. To activate the pain-relieving properties, place a clove in your mouth near the sore tooth and bite down to release the bitter oils. After ten minutes, you should feel some relief, which can last for hours, so it's best to spit the clove out at this stage.
Cloves Flavour Pairings
Cloves are a really versatile flavour and go so well with a range of different ingredients. We particularly like cloves with savoury foods, like beef, hard cheeses, pork and bacon, but they're especially delicious in sweet dishes.
Of course, cloves and cinnamon are a perfect match, but they also work really well with orange, peach, vanilla and ginger. Some of our favourite sweet recipes include this whiskey pumpkin pie recipe and this apple pudding with toffee sauce, both of which are perfect for this time of year.