Nutmeg is the seed or ground spice of several species of the genus Myristica. Myristica fragrans (fragrant nutmeg or true nutmeg) is a dark-leaved evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg, from its seed, and mace, from the seed covering. It is also a commercial source of an essential oil and nutmeg butter. The California nutmeg, Torreya californica, has a seed of similar appearance, but is not closely related to Myristica fragans, and is not used as a spice. If consumed in amounts exceeding its typical use as a spice, nutmeg powder may produce allergic reactions, cause contact dermatitis, or have psychoactive effects. Although used in traditional medicine for treating various disorders, nutmeg has no known medicinal value.
Nutmeg is the spice made by grinding the seed of the fragrant nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) tree into powder. The spice has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog.
The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. The nutmegs are roughly egg-shaped, about 20.5–30 mm (0.81–1.18 in) long and 15–18 mm (0.59–0.71 in) wide, weighing 5–10 g (0.18–0.35 oz) dried.
Mace is the spice made from the reddish seed covering (aril) of the nutmeg seed. Its flavour is similar to nutmeg but more delicate; it is used to flavour baked goods, meat, fish, vegetables and in preserving and pickling.
In the processing of mace, the crimson-colored aril is removed from the nutmeg seed that it envelops and is flattened out and dried for 10 to 14 days. Its color changes to pale yellow, orange, or tan. Whole dry mace consists of flat pieces—smooth, horny, and brittle—about 40 mm (1.6 in) long.
The most important commercial species is the common, true or fragrant nutmeg, Myristica fragrans (Myristicaceae), native to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia. It is also cultivated on Penang Island in Malaysia, in the Caribbean, especially in Grenada, and in Kerala, a state formerly known as Malabar in ancient writings as the hub of spice trading, in southern India. In the 17th-century work Hortus Botanicus Malabaricus, Hendrik van Rheede records that Indians learned the usage of nutmeg from the Indonesians through ancient trade routes.
Nutmeg trees are dioecious plants which are propagated sexually (seeds) and asexually (cuttings or grafting). Sexual propagation yields 50% male seedlings, which are unproductive. As there is no reliable method of determining plant sex before flowering in the sixth to eighth year, and sexual reproduction bears inconsistent yields, grafting is the preferred method of propagation. Epicotyl grafting (a variation of cleft grafting using seedlings), approach grafting, and patch budding have proved successful, with epicotyl grafting being the most widely adopted standard. Air layering is an alternative though not preferred method because of its low (35–40%) success rate.
The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place seven to nine years after planting, and the trees reach full production after twenty years.
Nutmeg and mace have similar sensory qualities, with nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavour. Mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts. Nutmeg is used for flavouring many dishes, and nowadays is mostly found in Western supermarkets in ground or grated form. Whole nutmeg can also be ground at home using a grater specifically designed for nutmeg.
In Indonesian cuisine, nutmeg is used in various dishes, mainly in many spicy soups, such as some variant of soto, konro, oxtail soup, sup iga (ribs soup), bakso and sup kambing. It is also used in gravy for meat dishes, such as semur beef stew, ribs with tomato, and European derived dishes such as bistik (beef steak), rolade (minced meat roll) and bistik lidah (beef tongue steak).
In Indian cuisine, nutmeg is used in many sweet, as well as savoury, dishes (predominantly in Mughlai cuisine). In Kerala Malabar region, grated nutmeg is used in meat preparations and also sparingly added to desserts for the flavour. It may also be used in small quantities in garam masala. Ground nutmeg is also smoked in India.
In traditional European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, and baked goods. It is also commonly used in rice pudding. In Dutch cuisine, nutmeg is added to vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and string beans. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog. In Scotland, mace and nutmeg are usually both ingredients in haggis. In Italian cuisine, nutmeg is used as part of the stuffing for many regional meat-filled dumplings like tortellini, as well as for the traditional meatloaf. Nutmeg is a common spice for pumpkin pie and in recipes for other winter squashes, such as baked acorn squash. In the Caribbean, nutmeg is often used in drinks, such as the Bushwacker, Painkiller, and Barbados rum punch. Typically, it is a sprinkle on top of the drink.
The pericarp (fruit covering) is used to make jam, or is finely sliced, cooked with sugar, and crystallised to make a fragrant candy. Sliced nutmeg fruit flesh is made as manisan (sweets), either wet, which is seasoned in sugary syrup liquid, or dry coated with sugar, a dessert called manisan pala in Indonesia. In Penang cuisine, dried, shredded nutmeg rind with sugar coating is used as toppings on the uniquely Penang ais kacang. Nutmeg rind is also blended (creating a fresh, green, tangy taste and white colour juice) or boiled (resulting in a much sweeter and brown juice) to make iced nutmeg juice. In Kerala Malabar region of India, it is used for juice, pickles and chutney.
The essential oil obtained by steam distillation of ground nutmeg is used in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries. The volatile fraction contains dozens of terpenes and phenylpropanoids, including d-pinene, limonene, d-borneol, l-terpineol, geraniol, safrol, and myristicin. In its pure form, myristicin is a toxin, and consumption of excessive amounts of nutmeg can result in myristicin poisoning.
The oil is colorless or light yellow, and smells and tastes of nutmeg. It is used as a natural food flavoring in baked goods, syrups, beverages, and sweets. It is used to replace ground nutmeg, as it leaves no particles in the food. The essential oil is also used in the manufacturing of toothpaste and cough syrups.
Nutmeg butter is obtained from the nut by expression. It is semisolid, reddish-brown in colour, and has the taste and smell of nutmeg itself.About 75% (by weight) of nutmeg butter is trimyristin, which can be turned into myristic acid, a 14-carbon fatty acid, which can be used as a replacement for cocoa butter, can be mixed with other fats like cottonseed oil or palm oil, and has applications as an industrial lubricant.
Until the mid-19th century, the small island group of the Banda Islands, which are also known under the name "Spice Islands," was the only location of the production of nutmeg and mace in the world. The Banda Islands are situated in the eastern part of Indonesia, in the province of Maluku. They consist of eleven small volcanic islands, called Neira, Gunung Api, Banda Besar, Rhun, Ai, Hatta, Syahrir, Karaka, Manukan, Nailaka and Batu Kapal, with a total approximate land area of 8,150 hectares.
Nutmeg is known to have been a prized and costly spice in European medieval cuisine as a flavouring, medicinal, and preservative agent. Saint Theodore the Studite (c. 758 – 826) allowed his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on their pease pudding when required to eat it. In Elizabethan times, because nutmeg was believed to ward off the plague, demand increased and its price skyrocketed.
Nutmeg was known as a valuable commodity by Muslim sailors from the port of Basra (including the fictional character Sinbad the Sailor in the One Thousand and One Nights). Nutmeg was traded by Arabs during the Middle Ages and sold to the Venetians for high prices, but the traders did not divulge the exact location of their source in the profitable Indian Ocean trade, and no European was able to deduce its location.
The Banda Islands became the scene of the earliest European ventures in Asia, in order to get a grip on the spice trade. In August 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Malacca, which at the time was the hub of Asian trade, on behalf of the king of Portugal. In November of the same year, after having secured Malacca and learning of Banda's location, Albuquerque sent an expedition of three ships led by his friend António de Abreu to find it. Malay pilots, either recruited or forcibly conscripted, guided them via Java, the Lesser Sundas, and Ambon to the Banda Islands, arriving in early 1512. The first Europeans to reach the Banda Islands, the expedition remained for about a month, buying and filling their ships with Banda's nutmeg and mace, and with cloves in which Banda had a thriving entrepôt trade. An early account of Banda is in Suma Oriental, a book written by the Portuguese apothecary Tomé Pires, based in Malacca from 1512 to 1515. Full control of this trade by the Portuguese was not possible, and they remained participants without a foothold in the islands.
In order to obtain a monopoly on the production and trade of nutmeg, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) waged a bloody battle with the Bandanese in 1621. Historian Willard Hanna estimated that before this struggle the islands were populated by approximately 15,000 people, and only 1,000 were left (the Bandanese were killed, starved while fleeing, exiled or sold as slaves). The Company constructed a comprehensive nutmeg plantation system on the islands during the 17th century. It included the nutmeg plantations for spice production, several forts for the defense of the spices, and a colonial town for trading and governance. The Dutch were not the only occupants of this region, however. The British skilfully negotiated with the village leaders on the island Rhun to protect them from the Dutch in exchange for a monopoly on their nutmeg. The village leader of Rhun accepted King James I of England as their sovereign, but the English presence on Rhun only lasted until 1624. Control of the Banda Islands continued to be contested until 1667 when, in the Treaty of Breda, the British ceded Rhun to the Dutch in exchange for the island of Manhattan and its city New Amsterdam (later New York) in North America.
As a result of the Dutch interregnum during the Napoleonic Wars, the British temporarily took control of the Banda Islands from the Dutch and transplanted nutmeg trees, complete with soil, to Sri Lanka, Penang, Bencoolen, and Singapore. (There is evidence that the tree existed in Sri Lanka even before this.) From these locations they were transplanted to their other colonial holdings elsewhere, notably Zanzibar and Grenada. The national flag of Grenada, adopted in 1974, shows a stylised split-open nutmeg fruit. The Dutch retained control of the Spice Islands until World War II.
It has been suggested that Connecticut received its nickname ("the Nutmeg State", "Nutmegger") from the claim that some unscrupulous Connecticut traders would whittle "nutmeg" out of wood, creating a "wooden nutmeg", a term which later came to mean any type of fraud. This narrative may have to do with the issue that one has to grate to obtain the spice powder, not crack a nutmeg, and this may not have been widely known by some purchasers of the product.
World production of nutmeg is estimated to average between 10,000 and 12,000 tonnes per year, with annual world demand estimated at over 9,000 tonnes; production of mace is estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 tonnes. Indonesia, with world market share of 75%, and Grenada, with 20%, dominate production and exports of both products. Other producers include India, Malaysia (especially Penang, where the trees grow wild within untamed areas), Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Caribbean islands such as St. Vincent. The principal import markets are the European Community, the United States, Japan, and India. Singapore and the Netherlands are major re-exporters.
In the 19th century, nutmeg was thought to be an abortifacient, which led to numerous recorded cases of nutmeg poisoning. Although used as a folk treatment for other ailments, nutmeg has no proven medicinal value. In amounts exceeding its usual use as a spice, nutmeg may interact with anxiolytic drugs, produce allergic reactions, cause contact dermatitis, or evoke acute episodes of psychosis.
In low doses, nutmeg produces no noticeable physiological or neurological response, but in large doses, both raw nutmeg freshly ground from kernels, as well as nutmeg oil, have psychoactive effects, which appear to derive from anticholinergic-like hallucinogenic mechanisms attributed to myristicin and elemicin. Myristicin—a monoamine oxidase inhibitor and psychoactive substance—can induce convulsions, palpitations, nausea, eventual dehydration, and generalized body pain when consumed in large amounts. Nutmeg poisonings occur by accidental consumption in children and by intentional abuse with other drugs in teenagers.
Varying considerably from person to person, nutmeg intoxication may occur with side effects, such as delirium, anxiety, confusion, headaches, nausea, dizziness, dry mouth, eye irritation, or amnesia. Intoxication takes several hours before maximum effect is experienced. The effects of nutmeg intoxication may last for several days.
Nutmeg was once considered an abortifacient, but may be safe for culinary use during pregnancy if used only in flavoring amounts. However, if consumed in large quantities, it contains hallucinogens that may affect the fetus, and consequently nutmeg is recommended for avoidance during pregnancy.
The Banda Islands (Indonesian: Kepulauan Banda) are a volcanic group of ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea, about 140 km (87 mi) south of Seram Island and about 2,000 km (1,243 mi) east of Java, and constitute an administrative district (kecamatan) within the Central Maluku Regency in the Indonesian province of Maluku. The main town and administrative centre is Bandanaira, located on the island of the same name. They rise out of 4-to-6-kilometre (2.5 to 3.7 mi) deep ocean and have a total land area of approximately 45.6 square kilometres (17.6 sq mi). They had a population of 18,544 at the 2010 Census. Until the mid-19th century the Banda Islands were the world's only source of the spices nutmeg and mace, produced from the nutmeg tree. The islands are also popular destinations for scuba diving and snorkeling.Cancellariidae
Cancellariidae, common name the nutmeg snails or nutmeg shells, are a family of small to medium-large sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the clade Neogastropoda. Some of the shells of the species in this family resemble a nutmeg seed.
Cancellariidae is the only family in the superfamily Cancellarioidea.Congestive hepatopathy
Congestive hepatopathy, is liver dysfunction due to venous congestion, usually due to congestive heart failure. The gross pathological appearance of a liver affected by chronic passive congestion is "speckled" like a grated nutmeg kernel; the dark spots represent the dilated and congested hepatic venules and small hepatic veins. The paler areas are unaffected surrounding liver tissue. When severe and longstanding, hepatic congestion can lead to fibrosis; if congestion is due to right heart failure, it is called cardiac cirrhosis.Connecticut
Connecticut ( (listen)) is the southernmost state in the New England region of the United States. As of the 2010 Census, it has the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital is Hartford and its most populous city is Bridgeport. It is part of New England, although portions of it are often grouped with New York and New Jersey as the Tri-state area. The state is named for the Connecticut River which approximately bisects the state. The word "Connecticut" is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for "long tidal river".Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutchmen who established a small, short-lived settlement called Fort Hoop in Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut Rivers. Half of Connecticut was initially part of the Dutch colony New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware Rivers, although the first major settlements were established in the 1630s by the English. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in America. In 1662, the three colonies were merged under a royal charter, making Connecticut a crown colony. This was one of the Thirteen Colonies which rejected British rule in the American Revolution.
Connecticut is the third smallest state by area, the 29th most populous, and the fourth most densely populated of the 50 states. It is known as the "Constitution State", the "Nutmeg State", the "Provisions State", and the "Land of Steady Habits". It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States (see Connecticut Compromise).
The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition which continues today. The state also has a long history of hosting the financial services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County.Djiboutian cuisine
Djiboutian cuisine is a mixture of Somali, Afar, Yemeni, and French cuisine, with some additional South Asian (especially Indian) culinary influences. Local dishes are commonly prepared using a variety of Middle Eastern spices, ranging from saffron to cinnamon. Grilled Yemeni fish, opened in half and often cooked in tandoori-style ovens, are a local delicacy. Spicy dishes come in many variations, from the traditional fah-fah or soupe djiboutienne (spicy boiled beef soup), to the yetakelt wet (spicy mixed vegetable stew). Xalwo (pronounced "halwo") or halva is a popular confection eaten during festive occasions, such as Eid celebrations or wedding receptions. Halva is made from sugar, corn starch, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and ghee. Peanuts are sometimes added to enhance texture and flavor. After meals, homes are traditionally perfumed using incense (cuunsi) or frankincense (lubaan), which is prepared inside an incense burner referred to as a dabqaad.Magnoliids
Magnoliids (or Magnoliidae or Magnolianae) are a group of flowering plants. Until recently, the group included about 9,000 species, including magnolias, nutmeg, bay laurel, cinnamon, avocado, black pepper, tulip tree and many others. That group is characterized by trimerous flowers, pollen with one pore, and usually branching-veined leaves.Myristicaceae
The Myristicaceae are a family of flowering plants native to Africa, Asia, Pacific islands, and the Americas and has been recognized by most taxonomists. It is sometimes called the "nutmeg family", after its most famous member, Myristica fragrans, the source of the spices nutmeg and mace. The best known genera are Myristica in Asia and Virola in the Neotropics.
The family consists of about 21 genera with about 520 species of trees, shrubs and rarely lianas (Pycnanthus) found in tropical forests across the world. Most of the species are large trees that are valued in the timber industry.Myristicin
Myristicin (or methoxysafrole) is a phenylpropene, a natural organic compound present in small amounts in the essential oil of nutmeg and anise, in several members of the carrot family, and to a lesser extent in other spices/herbs such as parsley and dill. In such plants, it acts as a natural bioactive agent, specifically as an insecticide or acaricide.Myristicin is also psychoactive, and acts as an anticholinergic agent. It is a precursor for the illicit synthesis of the psychedelic and empathogenic drug MMDA.
Myristicin is soluble in ethanol and acetone, but insoluble in water.Nutmeg (football)
A nutmeg (or tunnel, nut, megs, megnuts, panna, brooksy, codling) is a skill used mainly in association football, but also in field hockey, ice hockey, and basketball. The aim is to kick, roll, dribble, throw, or push the ball (or puck) between an opponent's legs (feet).Nutmeg (moth)
The nutmeg (Anarta trifolii or Hadula trifolii), also known as the clover cutworm, is a moth of the family Noctuidae.Nutmeg grater
A nutmeg grater, or nutmeg rasp, is a device used to grate a nutmeg seed. Nutmeg graters are normally metal, cylindrical or half-cylindrical, the surface perforated with small rasped holes. The nutmeg is passed over the surface to grate. The grater may be combined with a compartment for storing the nutmeg seed between uses.In the late 17th century nutmeg and nutmeg graters became associated with drinking punch, at that time a fashionable alcoholic beverage. Through the 18th century it was the fashion for men to carry nutmeg in a pocket-sized silver container equipped with a grater in order to add freshly grated nutmeg to punch.Nutmeg graters are a bartenders' tool, used for adding freshly grated nutmeg to hot toddies, eggnogs, and other drinks.Passatelli
Passatelli (plural) is a pasta formed of bread crumbs, eggs, grated Parmesan cheese, and in some regions lemon, and nutmeg; it is typically cooked in chicken broth. Typically, it is found in Pesaro e Urbino (northern Marche) and other regions of northern Italy, such as Emilia Romagna and Umbria.Ponche crema
Ponche crema is a Venezuelan cream-based liqueur. Recipes vary depending on the region, but main ingredients typically include milk, eggs, sugar, rum, and other minor ingredients such as vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and lemon rind. A variant type is prepared with concentrated liquid coffee or instant coffee powder. However, most references to the ponche crema name aim at a traditional commercial product, available since 1900, whose recipe and manufacturing process are kept secret. Ponche crema is a beverage traditionally served in Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago during Christmas time, much as eggnog is in the United States. It is usually served cold, in small cups, either as an aperitif or a pousse-café.Potted shrimps
Potted shrimps are a traditional British dish made with brown shrimp flavored with nutmeg. The dish consists of brown shrimp in nutmeg-flavoured butter, which has set in a small pot, the butter acting as a preservative. Cayenne pepper may also be included. It is traditionally eaten with bread.
Potted shrimp was a favourite dish of Ian Fleming who passed on his predilection for the delicacy to his fictional creation James Bond. Fleming reputedly used to eat the dish at Scotts Restaurant on Mount Street in London.Pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin pie spice, also known as pumpkin spice, is an American spice mix commonly used as an ingredient in pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin pie spice is similar to the British and Commonwealth mixed spice. It is generally a blend of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and sometimes allspice. It can also be used as a seasoning in general cooking.
A recipe for this combination includes:
18 parts ground cinnamon
4 parts ground nutmeg
4 parts ground ginger
3 parts ground cloves
3 parts ground allspiceA "Pompkin" recipe calling for a similar spice mix (mace, nutmeg and ginger) can be found as far back as 1796 in the first known published American cookbook, American Cookery, written by Amelia Simmons:
No. 1. One quart stewed and strained, 3 pints cream, 9 beaten eggs, sugar, mace, nutmeg and ginger, laid into paste No. 7 or 3, and with a dough spur, cross and chequer it, and baked in dishes three quarters of an hour.
No. 2. One quart of milk, 1 pint pompkin, 4 eggs, molasses, allspice and ginger in a crust, bake 1 hour.
Pumpkin pie spice has been referenced in cookbooks dating to the 1890s. In recognition of its popularity, it is now available ready-mixed by several companies including McCormick & Company, Trader Joe's and Frontier Natural Products Co-op.
As of 2016, pumpkin spice consumables produce $500 million in annual salesRuPaul's Drag Race (season 11)
The eleventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race began airing on February 28, 2019, on VH1. The cast for this season features fourteen new queens and one returning queen who were announced via a live video on January 24, 2019, hosted by season 10 winner Aquaria and Adam Rippon. Season 10 contestant Vanessa Vanjie Mateo returned to the competition.
The winner of the eleventh season of RuPaul's Drag Race was Yvie Oddly, with Brooke Lynn Hytes being the runner-up.Scaly-breasted munia
The scaly-breasted munia or spotted munia (Lonchura punctulata), known in the pet trade as nutmeg mannikin or spice finch, is a sparrow-sized estrildid finch native to tropical Asia. A species of the genus Lonchura, it was formally described and named by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. Its name is based on the distinct scale-like feather markings on the breast and belly. The adult is brown above and has a dark conical bill. The species has 11 subspecies across their range and differ slightly in size and colour.
This munia eats mainly grass seeds apart from berries and small insects. They forage in flocks and communicate with soft calls and whistles. The species is highly social and may sometimes roost with other species of munias. This species is found in tropical plains and grasslands. Breeding pairs construct dome-shaped nests using grass or bamboo leaves.
The species is endemic to Asia and occurs from India and Sri Lanka east to Indonesia and the Philippines (where it is called mayang pakíng). It has been introduced into many other parts of the world and feral populations have established in Puerto Rico and Hispaniola as well as parts of Australia and the United States of America. The bird is listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).Spice mix
Spice mixes are blended spices or herbs. When a certain combination of herbs or spices is called for in many different recipes (or in one recipe that is used frequently), it is convenient to blend these ingredients beforehand. Blends such as chili powder, curry powder, herbes de Provence, garlic salt, and other seasoned salts are traditionally sold pre-made by grocers, and sometimes baking blends such as pumpkin pie spice are also available. These spice mixes are also easily made by the home cook for later use.Trigonostoma
Trigonostoma is a genus of sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Cancellariidae, the nutmeg snails.Trigonostoma is also the name given to a trematode genus in the family Aspidogastridae, that is actually a synonym of the genus Multicalyx Faust & Tang, 1936
Culinary herbs and spices