What is the long spice in English?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “What is the long spice in English?” We will also discuss where cloves or long spice come from, its flavors, and how we can select the spice for culinary use. Moreover, we will also talk about the spices that can be used as a substitute for long spices.

What is the long spice in English?

Long spice is commonly known as clove in English. It is also known by the name laung and lavang. Its English name “clove” is said to be derived from the Latin word clavus which means nails.

Where do cloves come from?

Cloves are the aromatic immature flower buds of an evergreen tree native to eastern Indonesia. They are known to be versatile spices that can be used in numerous recipes including both sweet as well as savory dishes. 

They have small pin-like or nails-like appearance. They are dark brown and extremely aromatic. They are pinkish in fresh form but turn to a rust brown color when they are dyed for culinary use. 

They can be used whole or in ground form in different recipes but both these forms of cloves are used differently.

What does long spice taste like?

Cloves or long spice are a strongly pungent and astringent warm spice with an intense flavor and aroma. The intense flavor of this spice comes from the chemical compound called eugenol. On the tongue, you’ll perceive sweetness, bitterness, and astringency (mouth dryness), as well as a some level of heat. 

Cloves are a very potent spice, so they are used in much less quantities in a recipe or any spice blend like pumpkin pie blend. Warm spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice are quite similar to cloves in terms of their flavors.

How to select cloves or long spices for culinary use?

  • Since whole cloves are a lot more flavorful and aromatic in comparison to ground cloves, it is better to buy cloves in whole form and only grind them when a recipe calls for it with the help of a spice grinder.
  • Make sure you choose the cloves that are compact and free of blemishes for richer flavors and aroma.
  • Organically grown cloves are of better quality and free of harmful pesticides and radiations, so always go for organic cloves.

What are the culinary uses of cloves or laung spice?

  • Cloves are commonly used to flavor sauces, soups, rice dishes, and are particularly very popular in indian cuisines.
  • Ground cloves are mostly used in different sweet dishes and desserts along with nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Cloves are used in the preparation of different flavorful spice blends including garam masala, chinese five spice powder, pumpkin pie spice, curry powder, pickling spices, etc.
  • Whole cloves are mostly used for marinades and spice rubs by slightly crushing them.
  • When used whole, cloves are tempered in the hot oil so that all the flavors and aroma are absorbed by the oil and usually removed before serving since whole cloves can be very hard and unpleasant to bite into.

What are the possible substitutes for cloves?

Due to its unique aroma and taste, it’s not easy to find a very close substitute for cloves. However, you can use nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom in place of cloves to replicate some of its nutty and warm flavors:


Nutmeg has a nutty and sweet flavor which is very similar to cloves but it can be a bit stronger and overpowering in comparison to cloves. So make sure to use it alone in small quantities to replace it with cloves or you may combine it with cinnamon to balance out the strong flavors of nutmeg.


Allspice has similar sweet and peppery flavors to cloves, so it makes a great substitute. You may use allspice in ground or whole form, but the ground form of allspice is closer to cloves and can be used as a replacement in many recipes. For information on recipes that use allspice, please click the link here.


Cardamom’s herbal tone works well in both sweet and savory dishes just like cloves. You can use whole pods of cardamom or ground form when using in place of cloves.

If you’re using the ground cardamom, combining it with cinnamon or nutmeg is a good idea to get closer to the flavors that cloves would give you.


In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “What is the long spice in English?” We have also discussed where cloves or long spice come from, its flavors, and how we can select the spice for culinary use. Moreover, we have also talked about the spices that can be used as a substitute for long spices.




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