Nutmeg is a spice used in cuisines popularly. The biological name of nutmeg is Myristica fragrans. It is a dry round seed of the nutmeg tree in approximately having an egg-shaped structure with a fragrant odour. It is around 20 to 30 mm (0.8 to 1 in) long and 15 to 18 mm (0.6 to 0.7 in) broad and weighs between 5 and 10 grams. The nutmeg tree is tropical vegetation and is responsible for two spices of the fruit- nutmeg and mace. Mace is the dry string-like reddish skin or aril of the seed. Spicy Nutmeg Mousse, Nutmeg Jumbles, Spicy Nutmeg Chicken Drumsticks, Nutmeg Sauce and Nutmeg Brussels Sprouts are popular dishes made using nutmeg.
History of Nutmeg
Nutmeg is believed to have been found and prospered in Malacca region in Malaysia. It has been a valued and expensive spice during European medieval cuisine. Its uses included flavour, medicine and preservative agent. Ancient saint St Theodore the Studite ( ca. 758 – ca. 826) let his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their Pease pudding when required to have it. During the Elizabethan Era, nutmeg was known to ward off the plague and hence was very popular. In the Middle Ages, nutmeg was a trade commodity dealt with by the Arabs and sold to the Venetians at very high prices. There were several conquests and wars held for the spice and countries that participated in that included-Portugal in the 16th Century, Dutch in the 17th Century and the British in the following years.
In Middle Eastern cuisine, ground nutmeg is mostly used as a spice for savoury dishes. In Arab countries, Greece and Cyprus, nutmeg is used in cooking and savoury dishes.
In European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used specifically in potato dishes and in processed meat products.
In Dutch cuisine, nutmeg is incorporated to vegetable preparations such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and string beans.
Nutmeg is included as an ingredient to make Japanese curry powders.
In the Caribbean, nutmeg is commonly used in drinks such as the Bushwacker, Painkiller and Barbados rum punch. It is simply a sprinkle on the top of the drink.
Preferable Cooking Methods For Nutmeg
Non- Food Uses of Nutmeg