Announcing Think Spice, Think Nutmeg

Announcing Think Spice, Think Nutmeg

Think Spice, Think……, an event that Sunita of Sunita’s World came up with to showcase individual spices, has created a spice route of its own and stops here this month.

I am delighted to host this edition and have chosen the Nutmeg to be this month’s spice.

Why Nutmeg? 

I will be honest and tell you that it is because I have this on my kitchen shelf and haven’t really put it to much use, so far. So I’m really looking forward to discovering the many ways in which it can feature in foods. If you have any recipes using nutmeg, then this is the opportunity to blog about it. Or if you are like me, then this is when we can figure new ways to cook with nutmeg.

But before we go further, a little about the Nutmeg.

The Nutmeg: The nutmegs Myristica are evergreen trees indigenous to tropical southeast Asia and Australasia. Two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace.

Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 mm to 30 mm (1 inch) long and 15 mm to 18 mm (3/4 inch) wide, and weighing between 5 g and 10 g (1/4 ounce and 1/2 ounce) dried, while mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or arillus of the seed.

Several other commercial products are also produced from the trees, including essentia oils, extracted oleoresins, and nutmeg butter. __The outer surface of the nutmeg bruises easily.

The pericarp (fruit/pod) is used in Grenada to make a jam called "Morne Delice". In Indonesia, the fruit is sliced finely, cooked and crystallised to make a fragrant candy called manisan pala ("nutmeg sweets")

The most important species commercially is the Common or Fragrant Nutmeg Myristica fragrans, native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia; it is also grown in the Caribbean, especially in Grenada. Other species include Papuan Nutmeg M. argentea from New Guinea, and Bombay Nutmeg M. malabarica from India; both are used as adulterants of M. fragrans products.

Culinary uses: Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavour. Mace is often preferred in light-coloured dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like colour it imparts. Nutmeg is a flavorful addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh.

In Indian cuisine, nutmeg powder is used almost exclusively in sweet dishes. It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India and as Javitri and Jathi seed in Kerala. It may also be used in small quantities in garam masala.

In Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg powder is often used as a spice for savoury dishes. In Arabic, nutmeg is called Jawzt at-Tiyb.

In Greece and Cyprus nutmeg is called moschokarydo (Greek: "nut that smells nice") and is used in cooking and savoury dishes.

In 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. In Dutch cuisine nutmeg is quite popular, it is added to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and string beans.

Japanese varieties of curry powder include nutmeg as an ingredient.

A Norwegian bun called kavring includes nutmeg.

Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog. (Source: Wikipedia)

Some interesting history about the Nutmeg can be found here.

To be a part of this event, you just have to do the following:

1\. Cook up something in which nutmeg features as the main spice. This is a vegetarian blog ( eggs are ok) so please ensure that you send in vegetarian entries.

2. Post it on your blog anytime between today and the 27th of July** and please link back to this post and Sunita's Think Spice post. Feel free to use the logo with your post.

3. Then send me an e-mail at [email protected] (aprna zero zero, with Think Spice, Think Nutmeg as the subject and the following details:

Your name, Your location, The name of your blog along with url of your blog, The name of your dish and url (permalink) to your post, And a 300 pixel wide picture, if possible.

If you do not have a blog but would like to be a part of this event, please send me your recipe and write-up (with picture, if possible) and I would be happy to include it in the round-up.

Happy cooking with Nutmeg!

Updated on 18th July, 2008: Angela of A Spoonful Of Sugar has pointed out "Morne Delice" is actually a brand of nutmeg products. Looks like Wikipedia made a mistake there! Angela also says that "The soft pericarp is turned into nutmeg syrup--delicious on pancakes--nutmeg jam and nutmeg jelly. I've also had it caramelised and layered in a tart with pastry cream. Incidentally, the outer shells of the nutmeg are used in place of gravel in a few resorts in Grenada. The scent made me perpetually hungry!"