nutmeg

whole
5.0
based on 3 reviews
try me sample
0.32 oz
75¢
pinch jar
1.7 oz
$6
refill
1.7 oz
$5
large refill
6 oz
$12
view packaging
VARIANTS
whole
ground
Nutmegs are hard ovate seed kernels. These kernels are gray-brown in color and mostly smooth to the touch, but have lightly furrowed surfaces. They are highly aromatic in their whole form, but even more so when grated or ground for use as a warm, slightly sweet spice.

Best known for adding complexity and sweet pungency to confections, pies, and other baked goods, nutmeg also can add a warming kick to roasted fall vegetables or savory breakfasts. Along with cinnamon, its aromatic sweetness can allow for less actual sugar in a recipe while still delivering a sugary taste.
QUICK INFO
nutmeg , whole
INGREDIENTS
Nutmeg seed kernel
PLANT PART
seed kernel
PROCESSING / FORM
whole
BOTANICAL NAME
Myristica fragrans
VOLUME
2 oz (57 g) per 1/2 cup
ORIGIN
India
BOTANICAL NAME
Myristica fragrans
AKA
nutmeg seed
fragrant nutmeg
true nutmeg
Nutmeg is the kernel of the edible fruit of the Myristica fragrans tree. When fully mature the fruit will split in half to reveal a seed encased in a crimson-colored fleshy wrapper. This wrapper, called an aril, is dried (sometimes also ground) and is itself used as the spice called mace. The seed and aril are collected together, then separated so that the mace can be flattened out and sun-dried. The kernels too are left in the sun to dry until the kernel within the hard seed coat pulls away from its housing and rattles when shaken. The seed is then broken and the nutmeg kernel is retrieved.

This tropical evergreen is a prodigious producer, it can yield up to 20,000 nutmeg seeds in a season and can live up to 100 years. It is native to the Moluccas (aka Spice Islands) and is still mainly cultivated there and areas surrounding there. As with so many spices, ownership and cultivation of nutmeg became a contention between with the Dutch and English in the 1600s. This struggle embroiled the region, and other areas of the globe, with violent skirmishes and attempts at peace for 60 years. This tension and warfare ultimately culminated in the Treaty of Breda in 1664. If the treaty is unfamiliar the outcome won't be. The treaty featured a swap compromise: control of the islands went to the Dutch; control of a fur-trading post in the new world went to the English, who renamed this claimed land Manhattan.

At the time the Dutch capitalized on their spice holdings by banning export of the trees, and drenching seeds in lime to ensure infertility before shipping them off the islands. They further ensured their monopoly by not only hiding the location of the island but by slaughtering locals by the hundreds to discourage unsanctioned trade. In 1769 a French horticulturist was able to successfully smuggle out and replant nutmeg trees, thus ending the monopoly.
USAGE HINT

Use a microplane zester held at a 45° angle to grate whole nutmeg. Do this only an as needed basis, since freshly grated nutmeg will yield a more intense aroma in your dish than grated or ground nutmeg that's been stored.

QUICK FACT

In the 17th and 18th century western wealthy and fashionable men of leisure, dubbed flâneurs by the French, would carry about personal pocket-sized nutmeg graters. These would be wielded when a fresh scrape of nutmeg was desired for their wines, punches, ales, flips and the like.

 
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REVIEWS (3)