Nutmeg is a fragrant spice, with complex, bitter-sweet notes. It’s most potent when freshly-grated. A little goes a long way – and a small pinch might bring a hint of sweetness and warmth to butternut squash pasta or a savoury-spiced note to custard tarts.
Wars have been waged over nutmeg trade routes, and it was hugely popular during the medieval times when nutmeg laced rich game and stuffing. Now, it’s mostly thought of as a ‘sweet spice’ (along with allspice, cinnamon and cloves), used in tarts, custards and rice pudding.
Though nutmeg has a luxurious quality, there’s no reason it can’t be used on a daily basis – use a pinch to pep up porridge, braised red cabbage, potato dauphinoise, a Béchamel sauce or a wilted spinach side. When used in moderation, nutmeg is an easy way to add an extra layer of flavour and introduce sophistication to a simple dish.
Our nutmeg comes from Grenada, which has an illustrious history. It was formerly known as the Isle of Spice, and even has a nutmeg clove pictured on its national flag. The tropical climate is perfect for cultivation, and there is local expertise to ensure that the seeds are picked at the right time, dried in the sun and broken-open carefully to reveal the nutmeg inside.
Nutmeg seeds might seem robust, but always store them in a dark, airtight container. Use a grater to freshly file shavings of nutmeg from the seed as and when it’s needed.
Nutmeg, when used in small amounts, has been recommended as a natural remedy for sleeplessness or insomnia. Nutmeg is also thought to contain various compounds that boost mood, help relieve pain, and relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure. To read more, click HERE.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Myristica, true nutmeg
COOK THIS SPICE
Spinach & Nutmeg Lasagne