CLOVES (see \illustration in Color Page of SpicEs). Cloves, widely used for flavor ing desserts and confectionery and medicinally, are the dried flower buds of the clove tree. As plucked, they are reddish in color, but this changes to the familiar dark brown in the process of drying, performed either by the smoke of wood fires or by exposure to the sun.
The clove tree, an evergreen, grows to a height of forty feet, bears its developed clove buds in its seventh year, and gives two crops annually, increasing its produc tiveness up to an age of nearly a hundred years.
The clove industry was for many centuries confined to very narrow limits. A few islands of the Molucca group furnished the world's supply up to the beginning of the seventeenth century ; then the Dutch, having driven the Portuguese out of the "Spice Islands," tried to destroy all the clove trees except those on the Island of Amboyna, to perfect their monopoly.
Later, the Island of Zanzibar became an important producer, but for a number of years following 1872 it was again un productive as the result of a cyclone which uprooted nearly all of the mature fruit-bearing trees.
An interesting result of the cyclone was the release from the Dutch govern ment warehouses at Amboyna of surplus cloves that had been accumulating there for generations—no sales having been permitted except when the bids reached the prices set by the government. The markings on some of the barrels received at that time in New York showed that they belonged to the surplus of crops reaching back nearly a hundred years— some of the barrels were ready to fall to pieces, but the cloves were in excellent condition.
The principal sources of supply to day are the Islands of Zanzibar and Pemba (British East Africa) and the East Indies (both Dutch and British).
The best grade of British is that known as Penang; that of Dutch is Amboyna. Dark, well-formed cloves are the best.
Mother Cloves is the dry ripe fruit. It somewhat resembles the olive in appearance. Its flavor is similar to, but much weaker than, that of the ordinary clove.