Nutmeg is one of these powdered condiments that we usually use to enhance or add flavor to our dishes. The particularity of Nutmeg is that it has a sweeter and more subtle flavor than the common nut, and in addition to that, it is also capable of adding color to the food when added.
Maybe you are organizing your condiment dispensary and then find out that some nutmeg has been stored for some time.
Or maybe, on the contrary, you are thinking of buying it. Still, you do not know how long it will last before it spoils, whatever it is. If you have these doubts, you came to the right place because you will find everything you need to know regarding its duration and preservation.
How to store Nutmeg
Nutmeg is an element of the kitchen that can become essential in some dishes and vital for its flavor to be correct. Still, this seasoning can only fulfill this mission if it is in good condition, which is why you should know how to store it properly.
Nutmeg is similar to the rest of the powdered spices in terms of the methods you must apply to store them without damaging them over time. The precautions that you must take with Nutmeg to keep it in good condition can be summarized in the following list:
Keep it in a good place.
So that Nutmeg does not spoil, it must be stored in an appropriate place that prevents it from being affected by factors that could harm it. The requirements of a suitable place can be summarized in that it must be cool, it must be dark, and it must be dry. In this way, the Nutmeg will be safe.
Keep it sealed
When you buy Nutmeg, it usually comes in packages that cannot be sealed once you have opened it, so what we recommend is that you pour its contents into an airtight container such as a glass jar with a rubber seal lid.
Keep it out of trouble.
When we cook, it is normal to add the ingredients little by little while the dish is cooking, so it is common to throw mincemeats and spices in a saucepan that emits steam. This steam can become a moisture source that can damage the seasonings dry and powdered if you’re not careful.
What you should do is pour the portion of Nutmeg that you plan to use into a spoon or small container that is dry and then pour that in the place where you are cooking to be able to keep it out of the problems.
If you buy whole nutmeg seeds to grind them and turn them into powder on your own, you should keep them in airtight containers not affected by humidity.
Can You Freeze Nutmeg?
As you may already know, if you keep a portion of food in the freezer, you can extend the time to last in good condition to consume it whenever you want. You may be thinking of applying this option for Nutmeg, but this is something that we do not recommend doing.
Low temperatures will not prolong the time that the Nutmeg will be in good condition. Therefore trying to do so would be useless. On the other hand, if you manage to do so, this could damage the Nutmeg you have stored because when it thaws, the moisture will condense and negatively affect it.
How Long Does Nutmeg Last
One of the strengths of Nutmeg is its long duration. Thanks to the drying process to which the nutmegs were subjected, they lack moisture. Although they can retain a minimum part of their natural oils, they are not harmful.
Nutmeg usually has a label outside its packaging that indicates the date until it is guaranteed to be preserved with its best quality standard. However, the reality is that once it has passed this date, it can still retain its flavor for some more time.
Nutmeg looks like another ingredient that goes through similar processes, cinnamon. When these have not been ground and are whole, they can last longer in good condition because the surface exposed to air and oxygen is less than that of dust, which is practically all of it.
In terms of duration, the whole Nutmeg can last for four years, and nutmeg powder can last two years. The difference is substantial, so you should choose the option that suits you best.
How to Tell If Nutmeg Is Bad
Because Nutmeg is a dry ingredient, moisture damage is not threatened, but it does not mean that it can’t spoil in general.
In general, when you are going to use Nutmeg, you should check it so that it is in optimal conditions for use, which is why you should look for signs such as lumps or the presence of mold or some organic substance that is growing in it.
If your Nutmeg does not have any of these characteristics, then it is probably in good condition. Still, if it has been stored for a long time, it could also have lost its flavor strength, and it would not be as effective to use it for cooking, and therefore you should also discard it.
What does Nutmeg Look Like?
Nutmeg has a rough shape. This spice comes in a round, egg-like appearance. Each Nutmeg fruit has a normal size of around 20.5 mm to 30 mm in height and around 15 mm to 18 mm in width. The fruits have a normal weight of around 5 g to 10 g. It comes in both whole and powdered forms. The powdered form of Nutmeg has a look that resembles other powdered spices. While the while whole form looks like walnuts but with a little different shape.
Where does Nutmeg Come From?
The history of Nutmeg dates back to around 1st century A.D. In the old days, this spice was considered a treasure. It was used as a trading currency. The Nutmeg also caused a war due to its high importance, which created the East India Company and other Dutch companies. While another history shows around 3500 years old. It came from Pulau Ai and the Banda Islands, which are located in eastern Indonesia. The fame of Nutmeg started with India during the 6th century A.D. While it grew more when it reached Europe by the Arab traders. Today, it is known and used by almost everyone around the world.
How is Nutmeg Made?
When the Nutmeg fruit reaches the growth stage, it begins to split into two halves. When split, the nut reveals seeds. The seed has red netting with waxy bands. The net is removed from the seed. Both the seed and the net are used for spice. The cover is called mace. As stated above, Nutmeg can be used as both whole form and seed. The fruit cannot be used as a fresh form. So, it is dried. For drying, the seed is put under the sunlight. It may take few weeks to completely dry. So, be patient. When the seed dries, the whole form of the seed is ready for use. While for the powdered form, another process is applied. The dried seeds are transformed into powder form by using spice grinders.
What Does Nutmeg Taste Like?
The taste of Nutmeg resembles the taste of mace. It provides a unique combination of warm, sweet, and nutty flavors. Its aroma is also very intense and strong.
How is Nutmeg Used in Cooking?
For cooking, Nutmeg is used in the same way as the other spices. While using the whole form, you must use any grater for shaving a smaller part of this seed. Then, add these parts to the recipe while cooking. While the ground form can be added along with other spices. However, make sure not to use higher quantities to have better flavor.
What Types of Cuisines Use Nutmeg?
Nutmeg is used for both savory and sweet cuisines around the world due to its unique flavor. It complements well with ingredients like cheese and creamy sauces like alfredo, souffles, and bechamel, etc. Moreover, you can also use this in pumpkin pie, cookies, classic custard, meat, and other culinary dishes. While some people also use it in drinks such as cappuccinos.
What is a Nutmeg Substitute?
Nutmeg has various substitutes. You can use ingredients like mace, pumpkin pie spice, garam masala, cinnamon, ginger, ground cloves, and allspice to replace Nutmeg. And all of these ingredients are widely available around. So, next time when you don’t find Nutmeg, you should use these ingredients.
Where to Buy Nutmeg?
If you are looking for a high-quality Nutmeg, then we have it for you. We have listed some best products in the following paragraphs. They have a nice aroma, great taste, and better quality.
- Amazon Brand – Happy Belly Nutmeg, Ground, 3.25 Ounces
- 365 by Whole Foods Market, Organic Seasoning, Nutmeg – Ground, 1.87 Ounce
- Organic Whole Nutmeg (3.5 oz), Premium Grade, Harvested from a USDA Certified Organic Farm in Sri Lanka.
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