Nutmeg has long been lauded as possessing or imparting magical powers, is usually associated with sweet, spicy dishes — pies, puddings, custards, cookies and spice cakes. It is indispensable to eggnog and numerous mulled wines and punches.
Nutmeg is a seed that comes from the nutmeg trees. To make it into a seasoning, the seeds are dried in the sun. While it is drying, the spice loses its hard seed coat. The spice is ready when the kernels rattle in their shells. While it is being shaken, it separates from the outer coat, which is the mace. It can be sold whole or ground up as nutmegs many uses. Nutmeg has a mild taste and is rarely used with mace in a recipe. It tastes nutty and sweet and has a strong distinct smell. Whole nutmeg is about the size of an apricot and lasts longer than ground nutmeg.
Nutmeg can be sweet or savory in recipes. It is known as a holiday spice. When using this spice in recipes, make sure to use it lightly as it can be very powerful. Nutmeg is very special and can be used in a variety of different spices including pumpkin pie spice, ras el hanout, and garam masala. It is well known for being used in drinks like cappuccinos and eggnogs. It is a good flavorful spice for pumpkin pie and alfredo dishes. If you don’t have this spice laying around, you can substitute it with spices such as cinnamon, allspice, ginger, or ground cloves.
This spice comes in two different forms: ground or whole. Ground nutmeg is easy to find in local grocery stores. Although it’s convenient, it can easily lose its flavor and aroma fast. Whole beans can be found in supermarkets, wholesale clubs, gourmet shops, and online. Other places that sell the whole spice are specialty spice purveyors. It will most likely be found in the spice aisle, but if it’s not, it can always be ordered from our Spice Station website.