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I have whole cloves and need to crush/grind them. Should I break the berry parts off the much-harder stem and just grind that, or is the whole thing meant to be used?

(I'm using a mortar and pestle, not a spice grinder, so non-mechanized manipulation may make a difference!)

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One clove is "the berry part", as you describe it, and the "stem". Use the whole thing.

  • But the stems are so hard to crush up! <DRAMATIC SIGH> ;) – Erica Dec 10 '17 at 20:31
  • @Erica, they are (and even worse than star anise, a question you've inspired btw). I was hoping for some more insight how to improve that. – Ghanima Dec 10 '17 at 22:42
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    Its probably less work than removing the berries one by one ;p – Journeyman Geek Dec 11 '17 at 0:44
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    I crush the whole thing with a pestle and mortar. Not trying to do too many at a time helps a lot. You also don't need it to be as fine as you might think, at least when there's long slow cooking in liquid, as they soften significantly. An old family recipe for apple pie had whole cloves in (known as "nails" when we were children). Normally they'd be left (like cardamom pods in pilau rice) but they were chewy rather than hard by the time the apples were cooked. – Chris H Dec 11 '17 at 9:40

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