Nutmeg or Nuez Moscada

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Nutmeg or Nuez Moscada

Nutmeg is an ingredient that tends to be overlooked in the kitchen. With a fascinating taste that is mildly sweet, somewhat woody, and a bit peppery, it is used mostly for desserts or drinks.

A native ingredient from Indonesia, nutmeg comes from an evergreen tree, now planted in more countries, that found its way to Mexico in the years of the Spanish Colony with its vast and intensive trade routes to the East.

Cute little seeds, they appear to be unpeeled nuts or large pebbles from the outside. They are very hard and solid and cannot be chopped. The best way to use them is freshly ground with a grater. They are also best used judiciously, as a little goes a long way. Once you grate them, you can see their lovely marbled interior.

Some people buy and use nutmeg grinders, but I find that any fine grater will do.

An interesting piece of information, the spice mace is made from the thin protective layer that covers the nutmeg seed.

I love using nutmeg on potato or sweet potato puree, fish, shrimp croquettes, soups and desserts. I know I have yet to explore further uses of this intense and charming spice.

  • Barbar a

    I always use a little when I’m cooking greens.

  • Barbara

    I always grate a little over my greens when I’m cooking them.

    • Pati

      “Grate” idea! =)

  • lou

    happy thanksgiving Pati ! I just did a sweet potato puree 4 manana. thx for the reminder to add a dash of nutmeg. always freshly grated; essential in quiche.

  • Fanta

    I guess it depends on which part of the world you come from. Where I come from, nutmeg is used as much as cinnamon is used in the USA. I use it in all my baking and some dishes too.

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  • In Indonesia, all part of the nutmeg is used one way or another. The nutmeg fleshy ‘fruit’ is often pickled or preserved in syrup, the mace is dried and candied and the nutmeg it self is one of the must have spices for all my cooking. I have a fond memory of eating candied mace and sweetened nutmeg ‘fruit’. It’s amazing also this spice is the main reason for the spice trade back in 1600s and cause much of the bloodshed for native Banda people

    • Pati

      Wow!