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CLOVES PROCESSING OF CLOVES Clove (Eugenia Caryophyllus) Main countries of production: Tanzania, Indonesia, Sri Lanka Optimal Climate: 15-30C, best in a maritime climate Rainfall: 1750-2500mm, with a dry season Elevation: Best below 300m above sea level but can grow above 900m
Agricultural and botanical aspects
The clove tree is a small evergreen tree that grows to a height of 20m. The young leaves are bright pink and change to a greenish yellow and harden. The flowers develop in clusters of three to ten groups (of three flowers).
When the calyx (outer green leaves) of the flowers change from olive green to yellow pink, and before the petals fall to expose the stamens, the flower buds should be harvested. Clusters of flowers are harvested together by hand. One has to be careful not to over-pick the tree or to remove branches as this reduces future crop yields.
The buds are detached from the stalks by holding a cluster in one hand and pressing it against the palm of the other hand and twisting slowly. The hands of the processor and the room in which the work is done have to be very clean. The buds and the stems are separated and dried separately. The stems can be used for oil distillation. The buds have to be dried quickly or they will start to ferment. They are usually dried in the sun on mats. Raking the cloves is essential to produce an even colour. Drying usually takes four to five days. The buds are dried to 8-10% moisture content (wet basis) when the buds will snap cleanly. Badly dried cloves are pale brown and classified as 'Khuker'.
The dried buds are winnowed using a traditional winnowing basket to remove dust and extraneous matter.
The main uses for cloves are: To flavour 'Kretek' cigarettes in Indonesia. To flavour foods and drink. To produce essential oil which is used in dentistry and as a cleaning agent in microscopy.
US Government Standards and American Spice Trade Association Standards Moisture % (wet basis) <8 Extraneous matter % (by weight) <1 Mouldy buds % <1