Monday, April 20, 2009

Nutmeg and Mace

This nutmeg plant is grown mainly for it's fruits; and two spices are derived from the fruits are, nutmeg and mace.

The nutmeg fruit is shape oval or pyriform about 2 inches long, colored mottled yellow, and consists of an outer fleshy husk with an inner seed. The husk splits when ripe, exposing the seed. Immediately surrounding the seed, a dried lacy membrane - a leathery in texture, the seed coat(aril of the fruit) is called as 'mace'. The seed kernel inside the fruit is called as 'nutmeg'.

Both nutmeg and mace are similar in taste. The nutmeg has a warm, spicy sweet flavor. The flavors of the nutmeg and mace is due to the volatile oils, present in both tissues. The oil of the nutmeg is obtained by crushing and pressing the seeds, and is called as nutmeg butter.

Nutmeg is usually associated with sweet and spicy dishes — pies, custards, puddings, spice cakes and cookies. It can be also added in soups such as tomatoes, slit pea, chicken or black beans. One whole nutmeg grated equals two to three teaspoons of grounded nutmeg.

The freshness and shelf storage life can be maintained longer if stored in an airtight container.

The first harvest will starts about 7-9 years after planting of the tree, but the trees takes up to 20 years to turn their full potential.

The nutmeg tree is native to the Moluccas and is now cultivated in the West Indies and especially in Grenada.
[image: nutmeg and mace]