Whole Cloves Cloves are the dried and unopened flower buds of an evergreen plant. They are pungent and aromatic, with obvious uses in spice blends for garam masala, biryanis and pickling. In Eastern cuisine, they are more readily found in meats and salad dressings, and are also the key flavor to both ketchup and Worchesteshire blends. In Germany, cloves are used in both sweets and savories. Cloves are strong, and pungent with a penetrating, almost spicy, taste.