Essential Spice Cloves are the aromatic dried, unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree in the Myrtle family. Use Whole Cloves sparingly, especially when ground, as they can easily overpower a dish. Cloves are commonly used in Indian cuisine for sweet or spicy dishes. Whole Cloves are often used to "stud" hams and pork by pushing the tapered end into the meat like a nail. In American cooking, Ground Cloves are often used in sweet breads, like zucchini or pumpkin. Whole Cloves can be used to enhance the flavor of venison, wild boar and rabbit. In North Africa and the Middle East, they are generally used for meat dishes. A few Whole Cloves can be added to enhance the flavor and presentation of rice.