Greek Cloves: Cooking and Medicinal Info

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Cloves, also referred to as Garifalo or γαρίφαλο in Greek, are one of those spices that have a special place in Greek cooking. Used in desserts, it doesn’t seem to be as common as cinnamon. However, the two flavors do complement each other so they tend to be present together in a dessert. Unlike cinnamon, cloves don’t seem to be used in savory cooking as often, but this all depends on the region of Greece. However, there are some versions of stifado (mean stew) and kapama, another meat dish that have cloves in it. Cloves also pair well with pork.

Where are Cloves from in Greece?

Cloves aren’t from Greece originally, but they are certainly widely available today in the markets. You can either buy the cloves whole or already ground. Of course, buying the whole cloves and grinding them as needed is always preferred since this guarantees the most intense flavor. Ground cloves are still flavorful, however, so it is still perfectly acceptable to buy them already ground.

How Do Cloves Taste?

Cloves have a sweet, warm, and slightly astringent quality. They are sweet and aromatic with a faint hint of evergreen, due to the fact that they come from the evergreen clove tree that grows in certain parts of the world.

What Greek Recipes Use Cloves?

Baklava, Chocolate Baklava, Halvas, Karydopita me Avga

What are the Herbal Remedies for Cloves?

Cloves are often chewed whole in order to sweeten the breath and improve digestion. They often make their way into toothpastes and mouthwashes because of their breath sweetening quality. They are also used for upset stomachs and also as an expectorant, which means they can help someone with a cough rid their lungs of excess phlegm.

Interesting Facts About Cloves

Cloves didn’t originate in Greece. Their native to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East but they made their way to Greece during the ancient spice trade. However, once the Greeks knew about it, the spice quickly made its way into the cuisine.


Wikipedia – Clove

WebMD – Clove

Many Greek recipes are different based on the region of Greece and family traditions, so uses of the herbs and spices contained on this page may vary. Also, does not provide medical advice and the information provided here is for informational purposes only. This isn’t a medical site, please consult with your physician. The medicinal health information is based on anecdotal evidence and Greek history.

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This post was written by Greek Boston