Cloves(കരയാമ്പൂ) are very pungent aromatic spices made from unopened flower budding of the clove tree.
Immature Clove flower buds are harvested and then dried to get good quality product. Whole cloves are shaped like a small, reddish-brown thorn, usually around a centimetre in length, with a bulging top. The buds are hand-picked in late summer and again in winter and are then sun-dried to get high quality Cloves. The buddings contain 14 to 20 percent essential oil, the principal component of which is the aromatic oil eugenol. Cloves are strongly pungent owing to eugenol, which is extracted by filtration to yield oil of cloves.
Cloves can be used as whole or ground. Cloves should be stored in an airtight container, ideally in a cool and dark place. Whole cloves will retain their strong effect longer than ground cloves, remaining fresh for about an year.
Whole or ground cloves are used to savour sauces, soups and rice dishes, mainly a number of traditional Indian dishes, and it's one of the unavoidable components of garam masala. Cloves also goes in any desserts, especially ground cloves.