Nutmeg comes from the Nutmeg tree. This spice is one of the widely used ones around the world. The evergreen plant of this spice belongs to the Myristicaceae family of plants. The plant produces two types of spices, i.e., Nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is made from the fruit or seeds of the tree, while mace is its cover. Nutmeg is used for different purposes around the world. Besides, this tree is also cultivated for its Nutmeg butter and essential oil, which is widely used. The tree has different types. For instance, California Nutmeg and Indonesian Nutmeg. Though the properties of these types may be the same, they are a little different from each other.
The residents of Indonesia first introduced nutmeg. They were among the first producers of this spice. And still, they are the largest exporters of Nutmeg around the globe. It has many benefits; however, using an excess amount of Nutmeg may cause allergic reactions.
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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