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I am reading that cloves can cloud the plastic in my grinder at Cooking for engineers

Does this happen with any other spices?

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    ...cloud? ... cloud?! I had a case of the plastic sieve insert in a can of clove powder melting within a year or two. The can (metal) and insert were the original packaging. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 20:24

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I've had a good look and as far as I can see only cloves and allspice have this property. Most websites specify that it's due to an oil present in cloves however according to Wikipedia the main chemical components in clove oil (admittedly not cloves but fairly similar) are:

Bud oil is derived form the flower-buds of S. aromaticum. It consists of 60–90% eugenol, eugenyl acetate, caryophyllene and other minor constituents.

Leaf oil is derived from the leaves of S. aromaticum. It consists of 82–88% eugenol with little or no eugenyl acetate, and minor constituents.

Stem oil is derived from the twigs of S. aromaticum. It consists of 90–95% eugenol, with other minor constituents.

As neither eugenol, eugenyl acetate nor caryophyllene have this property the oil that does cause 'plastic clouding' must be fairly low.

Likewise the main chemical components of allspice oil according to Essential-oils.co.za are:

eugenol, menthyl eugenol, cineol, phellandrene and caryophyllene.

None of these chemicals have chemicals with that property. However many of the chemicals in allspice and clove are also present in nutmeg, black pepper and cinnamon.

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    Is it known if this clouding only affects certain types of plastic, and whether the clouding affects the nutmeg (ie is it still safe to eat)? I'm wondering if covering the clear plastic with some sort of varnish will help...?
    – growse
    Commented Mar 20, 2016 at 20:10

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