The Spice Trader Whole Nutmeg - 33g
The nutmeg tree is a large evergreen tree, native to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas. Inside its apricot-like fruit lies a hard seed, the kernel of which is the spice nutmeg. The Portuguese were able to keep the source of nutmeg and mace a close secret for nearly a century until they were driven out of the Spice Islands by the Dutch. After the English captured the Spice Islands in 1796, the British East India Company introduced the nutmeg tree to Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies. Grenada, in the West Indies, now produces almost a third of the world’s nutmeg crop.
Banda Islands (part of the Indonesian archipelago)
Taste and aroma
Nutmeg smells sweet but is more camphorous and pine-like than mace. The taste is warm and highly aromatic, with hints of clove and a deeper woody flavour.
In India, nutmeg is used more than mace because of the latter’s high cost. It is an ingredient in Moghul dishes and the Arabs have long used nutmeg (and mace) to flavour mutton and lamb dishes. Western cuisine makes extensive use of nutmeg in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Nutmeg is best bought whole. It keeps almost indefinitely when stored in an airtight container and is easily ground or grated as required.