Kitchen Tips

Getting to know Nutmeg

Nutmeg actually comes from an evergreen tree native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia. The spice has a distinctive, pungent fragrance and a warm, slightly sweet taste. While the seed of the nutmeg fruit is commonly used as a spice, the flesh of the fruit is often preserved and eaten as as snack.

Getting to know Nutmeg Fruit
Image Courtesy: Jim used under the Creative Commons Licence

Getting to know nutmeg can be quite tricky. Here are some tips to help you along.

Preparation and Storage of Nutmeg

The spice is available in two forms: as whole nuts or as ground nutmeg. Since the flavour deteriorates very quickly, whole nuts are preferred over ground nuts, as they can be kept indefinitely and grated as and when required with a nutmeg grater.

The freshness can be maintained when stored in an airtight container away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight, as these elements hasten the loss of flavour and aroma. Avoid storing over the stove, dishwasher, sink or near a window. Do not keep it in the freezer as they do not extend the shelf life of regularly used spices.

Cooking with Nutmeg

In Western dishes Nutmeg blends well with sweet and spicy dishes such as pies, puddings, custards, cookies and spice cakes. However, the Indonesian use of this spice is usually more focused on savoury dishes such as spicy sauces, hearty stews and succulent roasts.

Five Claimed Health Benefits of Nutmeg

Digestive health. They reduce flatulence, aid digestion, improve the appetite and treat diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

Kidney health. Nutmegs are traditionally used to prevent or dissolve kidney stones.

Oral health. Their antibacterial properties treat halitosis or bad breath, treat gum problems and tooth aches.

Relieving stomach aches. Nutmeg oil relieves stomach aches by releasing the excess gas from the intestines.

Gentle scrub. Nutmeg scrubs smoothens and betters the skin, removes blackheads, and reduces the visibility of acne scars.

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