Nutmeg comes from the Nutmeg tree, which is native to Banda, the largest of the Moluccas Islands (or Spice Islands) in Indonesia. They are also grown in the Caribbean, or more specifically, in Grenada.
Nutmeg trees, which have been cultivated for over a thousand years, must mature for 7-9 years before the first harvest occurs. The trees produce for many years, reaching their full potential after 20 years. Nutmeg comes from the seed, or nut, found inside the fruit of the tree. This seed is covered with a red membrane called an aril, and this membrane is ground into mace. After the aril is removed, the nut is dried until the inner nut rattles, letting us know that the inner nut, which is the edible nutmeg, is ready to eat! As you can imagine, harvesting nutmeg is a tedious process!
Nutmeg has a woody, bittersweet flavor with hints of clove, and a very rich, robust aroma. Nutmeg has many uses: baking cakes, cookies, fruit pies, sweet breads. A classic in eggnog, great in custard and whipped cream. Also great in savory dishes such as lamb, seafood chowders, (a favorite of mine to add to clam chowder!), creamed soups, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin recipes. Often found in curries. Pairs well with raisins, fruits, and ricotta cheese.
You can buy whole nutmeg and then freshly scrape/grate what you need right into your recipe, or if you prefer, we also offer ground nutmeg.