Did You Know?
Nutmeg is well known as a woody, nutty spice found on the tree of the same name. What you may not know is that while it's mistakenly referred to as mace and comes from the same tree, nutmeg is actually a separate component of the tree's evergreen fruit. Mace is derived from the nutmeg’s red casing, while nutmeg is the seed of the fruit's and is found at the centre. Both are traditionally used in sweet and sour dishes such as custards and desserts, but they differ slightly in flavour – with nutmeg enlivening dishes with a warmer, nuttier tone and mace adding a stronger more pungent spice.
Nutmeg is packed full of essential oils which are responsible for that signature sweet flavour. The high oil content ensures the flavour is easily retained in all forms, so just a sprinkle of ground nutmeg can give a real kick to your cooking. It's highly aromatic, with woody undertones, and can taste slightly bitter to some. Over the years, we've developed a special milling process to preserve even more of those volatile oils.
Nutmeg is considered a good match for all manner of foods savoury and sweet, and its impressive strength means a little goes a long way. Use it to add a subtle richness to spinach, carrots or even bolognese sauce, sprinkling in a pinch towards the end of cooking. A dash of nutmeg is also great over lasagne or macaroni cheese, or scattered into béchamel sauce with bay leaves.
Cooking with nutmeg dates as far back as the fourth century, when it featured heavily in Asian cuisine. In the 18th century, nutmeg was considered a medical cure-all, which gave way to a whole host of forgeries. The most notorious examples were in Connecticut, where devious peddlers would whittle wood into nutmeg shapes and pass them off as the real thing.
Did you know?
- Nutmeg is a major crop for the island of Grenada, which is why it's often called Nutmeg Isle
- Nutmegs should be light brown in colour and have a strong, aromatic flavour
- In folklore a nutmeg worn around the neck was believed to ward off evil spirits
Energy per 100g: 444 KCal
Protein per 100g: 8.2 g
Carbohydrates per 100g: 49.9 g
Fat per 100g: 23.5 g