Cloves for Baby
Are herbs and spices safe for my baby? It's a common question many new parents ask themselves when they begin introducing solids to their little ones. The answer is yes, you can expand baby's palate and spice up their food and do so without worry. Not only will it taste delicious for baby, it will also help promote adventurous eating and prevent picky eaters once adult meals are introduced. Cloves are the flower buds of a spice tree and have a warm, but strong flavor that pairs well with Indian flavors and spicy baked goods like pumpkin bread, ginger bread and peach and apple purees. Cloves add a warm spice to a lot of different foods, but they have also been shown to have anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties making clove oil a popular choice among holistic dentists. Cloves are nutrient-dense and add delicious dimension to just about anything you feed baby!
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Cloves
Vitamin A - plays an important role in vision and bone growth and helps baby grow healthy hair and nails
Vitamin C - helps to keep gums and teeth healthy while helping to heal small cuts and wounds
Vitamin K - this vitamin is vital for healthy teeth and bones and plays a large role in the blood clotting process
Vitamin E - a potent antioxidant, Vitamin E boosts the immune system and helps the body fight germs and infections
Manganese - this potent antioxidant helps to form baby's bone and cartilage (cloves provide us with 98% of our daily recommended amount of this mineral!)
Calcium - this mineral promotes healthy nerve and muscle function and is important for building strong bones and teeth
Magnesium - necessary for healthy bones and teeth and very important in regulating energy production within the cell
Iron - important for making hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying red pigment in blood
Cloves for Teething?
Clove paste is a popular teething remedy in some parts of the world, but consult your doctor before using on baby. Clove essential oil is highly concentrated so it's important to avoid applying it directly to the gums to prevent irritation.
How to Select and Store Cloves for Baby Food
Along with other spices, it's important to buy organic to avoid irradiation - a process that exposes the spice to radiation to help with preservation and shelf life. It's also a good idea to buy whole cloves instead of powdered since the powder tends to lose its flavor more quickly. Wondering if your cloves are fresh? Place them in a cup of water and see which sink and which float. The fresh, good quality cloves will float vertically while those that are stale will either sink or float horizontally!
Keep cloves in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark place, where they will keep fresh from 6 months to a year. If you purchased whole cloves, the easiest way to grind them is to use a coffee grinder.
Cloves have a very intense flavor, especially when ground, so be careful when deciding how much to use. Less is more with this spice, especially for baby and kiddos. Don't fear the spice when it comes to feeding little one's new foods. Introducing different flavor and spice profiles will prime their palate's for more interesting and adventurous eating down the road!
Recipes using Cloves