(Last Updated on : 28/01/2014)
Nutmeg, an evergreen tree, is available from a tree that can be found in Moluccas Islands in an area of Indonesia also known as Spice Islands. The fruit that is available from the tree is the Nutmeg seed. The fruit is generally small almost the size of an egg. It has a yellow fruit inside and when it is cut in half there is a red covering inside which is known as Mace, when it is dried. Below that is a Nut, which is the actual Nutmeg. In India it is grown in parts of Kerala
as the ingredients in various products.
Nutmeg is produced from the Myristica Franrans, a member of the Mayriticaceae family. The plant is native to Indonesia that grows into a tropical evergreen tree of up to thirty feet tall. Nutmeg is actually several species of trees in genus Myristica. The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit, Nutmeg and Mace
. In Indian cuisine, nutmeg has varied uses in many sweet as well as savoury dishes (mostly in Mughlai cuisine).
It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India and as Jatipatri and Jathi seed in Kerala. It can also be used in small quantities in Garam Masala. Ground nutmeg is also smoked in India.
There are a number of species of nutmeg that are available. Amongst these, the Common or Fragrant Nutmeg, Myristica fragrans, is grown in Kerala. It can also be found in Banda Islands of Indonesia, Penang Island in Malaysia and the Caribbean and also in Grenada. Another species of nutmeg found in India is the Bombay Nutmeg, known as Jaiphal in Hindi.
Nutmeg is best used as an addition to sweet recipes like Puddings and Pies. It can also be used on meat dishes for an extra added flavour. Nutmeg can be used in preparation of vegetables also. It works especially well with Cheese dishes and is often a part of a souffl‚ recipe. Egg dishes respond very well to the addition of nutmeg. The aroma of nutmeg is as delicious as its taste. Besides the culinary uses, nutmeg has health benefits as well.