Monday

About Nutmeg



I've been a nutmeg lover ever since my mother first sprinkled a little on top of my Christmas eggnog. It was good then, but it's better now that I grate my own. If you think nutmeg is a spice that belongs in the back of the cupboard, think again. Its mild flavor can be deceptive because it isn't as aromatic as cinnamon, or as aggressive as allspice, but nutmeg has something amazing going for it nonetheless. It's a natural blender spice. It enhances mild dishes by bringing flavors together into a cohesive and delicious whole.

What Is Nutmeg Good With?
 
Try making a fondue and taste the result with and without nutmeg; the same for a quiche, or a baked squash dish. You can't always taste it, but you will taste other flavors in a mild dish more deeply when you add nutmeg. Nutmeg is an example of what's best in spices and herbs, the ability to make dishes better without detracting from the main ingredients. It's a supporting player for sure, but it plays its role beautifully.
Nutmeg Pots
Use nutmeg when you are preparing dishes that use eggs, cream, or rich cheeses. Think of nutmeg for fruits like bananas, apples or peaches. Nutmeg enhances vegetables like squash, carrots, cauliflower, spinach and potatoes. It makes a very nice accompaniment to lightly dressed pasta or plain rice. The more you use it, the more you will appreciate its subtle appeal.
Take the time to use a rasp and grate your own, and you will find yourself looking for excuses to add nutmeg to your dishes. It smells that good.

Where Does Nutmeg Come From?

Photo Courtesy of Richard RenaldiNutmeg (Myristicaceae) is the pit or kernel of a tropical evergreen tree that can grow 25 feet tall. The tree itself has dark glossy leaves and produces yellow flowers before the fruits appear. The pit isn't the only useful part of the fruit. Mace, another common spice, is the red, lacy outer covering (arillus) of the nutmeg  pit.

The nutmeg tree originated in the spice islands of Indonesia. It becomes mature about the time people do, around 21 years of age.

How to Buy Nutmeg

Buy the whole pit rather than the ground nutmeg usually available in the grocery store; the flavor will be stronger and last longer. The pits are sometimes sold as nutmeg nuts, but this is a misnomer. Keep the pits in an air tight container. Do not refrigerate them.

Is Nutmeg Hallucinogenic?

If you've heard that nutmeg is hallucinogenic, it's true. The bad news is that you'd have to grind and eat over half a nut for it to have any effect and it would make you terribly nauseated.


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Photo 1 - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANutmeg_01.jpg
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/75/Nutmeg_01.jpg
By Lee Coursey (Nutmeg Closeup  Uploaded by Rojypala) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecom

Photo 2 - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ANutmeg_whole.JPG
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7a/Nutmeg_whole.JPG
By Miansari66 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

12 comments:

  1. Anonymous6:55:00 PM

    Nutmeg is an incredible spice. I agree that is tastes great in sweet and savory dishes. I really like it in mashed potatoes with herb butter and cream.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous8:00:00 PM

    Nutmeg is also good as an anti-inflamatory agent. Grate some on your fruits every morning and watch the pains go away. I discovered this purely by accident.

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's a good tip. Thanks!

    Sara

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  4. I grate a small amount over my porridge ever morning I also add a few sultanas as well all this really does enhance the taste to a new height!!!!!! do try it!!!
    Robert. E. Hibbert.
    Bredbury,Stockport,cheshire.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Robert,

    That does sound tasty! Thanks for the suggestion.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Daniel Bennett2:19:00 AM

    I would like to mention as a holistic geek and someone who cooks for the heath and the love of it just as much as the taste. Nutmeg is also known for having a mellowing affect and I use it on a daily basis to help manage depression and Anxiety. As far as the hallucinogenic properties, they not that fun and as OP Miss Sara said you run the risk of nausea. I my self have pushed the limits as far as I think a person can and you become VERY sick for a few days. You should however not be afraid as it took me a whole 2 nuts to my self to get that sick. I grate about 1/2 a nut into my pasta sauce when I feed 4 people and about a tea spoon for just two. Its a great Spice and if you use your head you will be fine/.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous2:13:00 PM

    nutmeg is a comfort spice for myself and my kids. It's a spice I have to have at Christmas. gingerbread with a touch of nutmeg,....mmmmmm
    Definitely a favorite of mine.

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  8. Anonymous7:57:00 AM

    I can testify to the veracity of your last paragraph, though I could recommend similar experimentation to no one.

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  9. i put nutmeg on nearly everything and it really does add flavour

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  10. i love nutmeg so much that i agree with bob

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  11. I sprinkle nutmeg over avocado on toast! It's great.

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