Cloves Shelf Life: How Long Do Cloves Last?

What is the average shelf life of cloves? How long do cloves last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store cloves to increase their shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below:

Shelf Life of Cloves

Whole4-5 Years--
Ground2-3 Years--

Clove is derived from the Latin word “Clavus”, which means nail. Cloves are the dried nail-shaped flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. When they are pink and dry, the buds are picked by hand until they turn brown in color. They have a sweet penetrating flavor. Cloves are harvested in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and India. The shelf life of ground cloves is 2 to 3 years, and the shelf life of whole cloves is 4 to 5 years. Whole cloves will last for several years in a pantry. The shelf life of the spice varies. They are available throughout the year. Cloves have a very hard exterior, and a warm, aromatic, and sweet taste. They don’t have a sell-by date, so the purchase date must be used to determine whether they are edible.

Purchasing Cloves

If you want to check the quality of a clove, put it into a glass of water; edible cloves will float vertically, while inedible cloves will sink or float horizontally. Clove powder is easily attainable at supermarkets. Always select organically-grown cloves, and buy cloves in bulk to save money. Also, when you buy cloves, write down the date of purchase, so you know when you bought them.

Storing Cloves

Whether dry or whole, always keep cloves in a cool, dark, and dry place. They should be kept in an airtight container. Ground cloves will last for six months, while whole cloves will last for about a year. You can also extend their shelf life by storing them in a refrigerator. If you are using whole cloves, use an electric grinder, as it is very difficult to grind them with a pestle.

How to Handle Cloves

People use cloves to flavor food. Cloves have a spicy flavor. You can use cloves for respiratory ailments by boiling a few buds in water. Cloves also contain antioxidants. Clove oil is used for curing diarrhea and for bad breath. You don’t need to wash cloves, because they are dried flower buds. Cloves are basically herbs, and people use their stems and leaves to make medicines. Cloves don’t spoil, but they lose their strength after some time if not stored properly. If you place cloves in the freezer, you must thaw them at room temperature before using them.

Cooking Cloves

Cloves are used in baking. Their buds are also used in pickling. Clove oil is very famous; it is used for toothaches. Some cigarettes are also formed by cloves and are called Kreteks. Ground cloves have a very intense flavor. Whole cloves are used in making ham. You can use cloves in a variety of dishes. Cloves are one of the world’s oldest spices, and because of their aromatic smell, it is used in many different dishes. Cloves are mixed with apples in England and with onions in France. In India, cloves are eaten with nuts. In food, they are used as a flavoring.