The buds have to be dried quickly or they will start to ferment. They are usually dried in the sun,
spread on clean mats. The cloves should be raked and turned frequently to ensure they develop
an even brown colour. The colour of buds changes from pale russet to a darker brown as the
clove dries. The drying process takes about four to five days. It cannot be speeded up or the
cloves will become dry, brittle and withered rather than plump.
The final moisture content of the dried cloves should be 8-10%. Experienced clove driers will
know when the cloves are fully dry as the buds will snap easily. During the rainy season, cloves
should be dried using a mechanical drier such as a tray drier.
Badly dried cloves are pale brown and classified as khuker.
The dried buds are winnowed using a traditional winnowing basket to remove dust and other
foreign matter. Small cleaning machines are available that use a blower to remove the dirt and
The US Government and American Spice Trade Association standards for cloves are as follows:
Moisture (% wet basis) <8%
Grinding can be a method of adding value to a product. However, it is not advisable to grind
spices. After grinding, spices are more vulnerable to spoilage. The flavour and aroma compounds
are not stable and will quickly disappear from ground products. The storage life of ground spices
is much less than for the whole spices. It is very difficult for the consumer to judge the quality
of a ground spice. It is also very easy for unscrupulous processors to contaminate the ground
spice by adding other material. Therefore most consumers, from wholesalers to individual
customers, prefer to buy whole spices.
Dried cloves are usually sold whole.
Cloves can be packaged in polythene bags of various sizes according to the market demand. The
bags should be sealed to prevent moisture entering. Sealing machines can be used to seal the
bags. Attractive labels should be applied to the products. The label needs to contain all relevant
product and legal information – the name of the product, brand name (if appropriate), details of
the manufacturer (name and address), date of manufacture, expiry date, weight of the contents,
added ingredients (if relevant) plus any other information that the country of origin and of import
may require (a barcode, producer code and packer code are all extra information that is required
in some countries to help trace the product back to its origin). See the Practical Action
Technical Brief on labelling for further information on labelling requirements.
Dried cloves must be stored in moisture-proof containers away from direct sunlight. It is
essential that the cloves are fully dry before they are stored. Any moisture within the bags will
cause the cloves to rot. The stored cloves should be inspected regularly for signs of spoilage or
moisture. If they have absorbed moisture, they should be re-dried to a moisture content of 10%.
The storage room should be clean, dry, cool and free from pests. Mosquito netting should be
fitted on the windows to prevent pests and insects from entering the room. Strong smelling
foods, detergents and paints should not be stored in the same room as they will spoil the aroma
and flavour of the cloves.