Cloves!

 Cloves, the finished product we are all familiar with.

Cloves, the finished product we are all familiar with.

I never thought about where cloves came from until I ran into a clove tree for sale in a "holiday" collection of spice trees for sale at a local tree farm. I just had to have one to go with my pumpkin pie collection (cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove) to plant in one corner of the farm about 4 years ago.

This year, my tree started doing something a little exciting, but took forever to culminate in the flowers that make the actual clove. I kept thinking it was just getting more leaves, but finally it revealed itself to be blooming. I had to quickly figure out what the process was to harvest these little gems. It turns out, you have to harvest the blooms before they actually open.  They turn a little pink at their base right before they bloom and this is the sign to start picking. You then just dry them out in the sun, or in the oven at very low temps. I left a batch in the oven to dry and forgot about them until I hit preheat to 350°, my house quickly filled with the scent of cloves as a warning, but they were all black as coal when they came out.

I took some pictures for you to see what they look like before you get them in the bottle at the store. Enjoy!

 The first stage - a couple months before harvest.

The first stage - a couple months before harvest.

 Buds about a month before harvest.

Buds about a month before harvest.

 They are finally ready!

They are finally ready!

 Cloves, ready to be dried. You can see a couple that have actually bloomed out into a puffy little flower.

Cloves, ready to be dried. You can see a couple that have actually bloomed out into a puffy little flower.

 Here is the tree, it's about 20 feet tall now. I don't know how I am going to harvest them next year!

Here is the tree, it's about 20 feet tall now. I don't know how I am going to harvest them next year!

Aloha,
Linda