Nutmeg (Myristica Fragans) is the inner kernel of the fruit from an Evergreen Tree native to Moluccas, or the Spice Islands. The fruit is oval shaped and about an inch long with a tan brown color. The fruit is split open to reveal the seed, Nutmeg, which is wrapped in a bright red lacy covering called Mace. Both the Nutmeg and Mace have their own distinct flavors. Nutmeg is about 3/4 to 1 inch long and oval shaped with a flavor resembling that of Cardamom, Cinnamon, and Cloves. Both Nutmeg and Mace have a long history in Asian cooking. Nutmeg is a wonderful spice and Ground Nutmeg is much easier to use when cooking then its whole counterpart.
|Common Uses||Nutmeg should be added toward the end of the cooking process because its flavor diminishes when heated. Nutmeg is great in puddings, eggnog, spiced wine, muffins, apple pie and other sweet dishes. Nutmeg is also wonderful in savory dishes such as pasta, onion sauces, steamed spinach, and braised vegetables.|
|History||Nutmeg is known to have been a prized and costly spice in European medieval cuisine as a flavoring, medicinal, and preservative agent. Saint Theodore the Studite (c. 758 – 826) allowed his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their pease pudding when required to eat it. In Elizabethan times, because nutmeg was believed to ward off the plague, demand increased and its price skyrocketed. Nutmeg was known as a valuable commodity by Muslim sailors from the port of Basra (including the fictional character Sinbad the Sailor in the One Thousand and One Nights). Nutmeg was traded by Arabs during the Middle Ages and sold to the Venetians for high prices, but the traders did not divulge the exact location of their source in the profitable Indian Ocean trade, and no European was able to deduce its location.|