Cloves are the most pungent and oily of all spices. They are the unopened buds of the clove tree and have a hot, sharp, bitter flavour. They will easily overpower other flavours, so they must be used very carefully. Cloves are used around the world in both sweet baking and in savoury foods. They are an important component of many spice blends like garam masala, five-spice powder, ras el hanout and quatre epices. Cloves lose their oils relatively quickly when ground, so buy often and don’t keep anything that’s stale.