Nutmeg, by Wikipedia / CC BY SA 3.0


Nutmeg is the seed or ground spice of several species of the genus “Myristica”. “Myristica fragrans” (fragrant nutmeg or true nutmeg) is a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering. It is also a commercial source of an essential oil and nutmeg butter. The California nutmeg, “Torreya californica”, has a seed of similar appearance, but is not closely related to “Myristica fragans”, and is not used as a spice. If consumed in amounts exceeding its typical use as a spice, nutmeg powder may produce allergic reactions, cause contact dermatitis, or have psychoactive effects. Although used in traditional medicine for treating various disorders, nutmeg has no known medicinal value.

Nutmeg is the spice made by grinding the seed of the fragrant nutmeg (“Myristica fragrans”) tree into powder. The spice has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog.

The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. The nutmegs are roughly egg-shaped, about long and wide, weighing dried.

Two other species of genus “Myristica” with different flavors, “M. malabarica” and “M. argentea”, are sometimes used to adulterate nutmeg as a spice.

Mace is the spice made from the reddish seed covering (aril) of the nutmeg seed. Its flavour is similar…