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.
Nutmeg seed kernel
2 oz (57 g) per 1/2 cup
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.
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.