How similar are allspice and cloves? What are the major differences between these two spices? In this SPICEography Showdown, we compare allspice and cloves side by side to take a look at what exactly separates these two fragrant and popular spices.
Do allspice and cloves have a similar flavor?
While these spices do seem remarkably close in flavor, there are some very distinct differences between the two. Allspice earned its name because it has a flavor like that of several spices combined. Its taste is often said to most closely resemble a mixture of nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper.
Allspice also has a bit more intensity than cloves. Of course, that being said, both spices are very strong in flavor as well as aroma. They also have similar heat to them, with a warmth that borders on spiciness.
Cloves tend more towards sweetness, while allspice contains peppery overtones that are not present in cloves.
Do allspice and cloves look alike?
Because these spices are very close in color, they are very difficult to distinguish from one another in ground form.
Otherwise, you can easily tell allspice from cloves by shape. Whole cloves look a bit like a small flower stem with a little bud at the end. Allspice, however, has the appearance of little round peppercorns.
Are cloves more difficult to find than allspice?
Ground cloves and allspice are both common staple components of the typical kitchen spice rack, which makes them very easy to find. All you need to do is stroll down the spice aisle in just about any supermarket or grocery store and you’ll see that both of these spices are readily available.
The whole spices are generally just as easy to find as ground, with availability in most grocers’ aisles. Whole forms of these spices are used regularly in a wide variety of popular dishes, making availability about equal for both of these spices in either form.
Can allspice act as a substitute for cloves? Can cloves substitute for allspice?
Yes and yes! Allspice can be used as a substitute for cloves and vice versa. If you need to use one of these as a substitution, do a bit of research first to be sure that the quantity is correct for your particular recipe. Depending on the type of dish you’re cooking or baking, you may need to adjust the amount or add an additional ingredient(s) to create the flavor you’re looking for.
Is allspice as healthy as cloves?
No; as a matter of fact, allspice actually boasts more health benefits than cloves. While cloves do offer many health and nutritional benefits, allspice is chock full of vitamins and nutrients that are necessary for optimum health.
Are allspice and cloves used in the same types of foods?
Each of these two spices has specific uses, particularly when it comes to various different ethnic cuisines.
However, despite this, they are both used in dishes of similar flavor profiles. This includes a variety of dishes both sweet and savory as well as spicy foods and meats.
Fragrant and intense, these two spices share many similarities while still maintaining unique qualities of their own. By experimenting with substituting these ingredients in various dishes, you’ll quickly gain a real understanding of the subtle ways in which they differ as well as how best to utilize each of these spices to your culinary advantage.