Botanical Name - Myristica fragrans
Origin - Indonesia
Flavor Profile - Warm and pungent. Blends well with other aromatic spices and certain fruits, such as pear, apple and pumpkin.
Culinary Usages - Grate fresh to flavor cookies, pastries, cakes, breads and muffins. May also be added to tea and coffee blends.
Cosmetic Usages - Use in soaps, salves, lotions and hair products. The powder may be infused in hot water or oil.
Nutmeg is the dried, egg-shaped kernel of the seed of a tree native to Indonesia and cultivated in the Caribbean. This “nut” also yields the spice mace, the red, leathery gum that clings to its outer surface. Nutmeg was highly sought after in the early history of spice trading, which prompted a long-standing conflict between the English and Dutch in the 16th century, which culminated with control by the latter and prices driven so high that only nobility could afford to indulge in the spice.
Because whole nutmeg is grated fresh as-needed, this is the best form to ensure maximum flavor.
Nutmeg has a long history of use in Asia, but it was a rare commodity in Europe until the Portuguese discovered the Maluku Islands of Indonesia as a major source. Once introduced to England in the 16th century, nutmeg was widely used to flavor cordials, mutton stew, meat pies and puddings. Today, nutmeg is more commonly used to add warm spice to baked goods and hot breakfast cereals. Of course, it’s also a key ingredient in pumpkin pie spice and mulling spice blends.
Aromatic Usages - Tincture in alcohol or witch hazel for use in making perfumes and colognes. May also be used to scent and add texture to soap.
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