WHAT IS NUTMEG?
This spice is the tropical seed of an evergreen tree mostly native to Indonesia and the West Indies. It’s not a nut (which is good news for people with tree nut allergies). When the fruit ripens it’s only about 2 inches (5 cm) in size. The flesh splits in half, revealing a seed somewhat similar in appearance to a walnut. A bright red lace covers this seed, called aril, which is ground up to make the spice mace (an essential ingredient in tear gas).
WHY IS NUTMEG GOOD FOR YOU?
It’s relatively rich in dietary fiber and contains the elements thiamin, magnesium, copper and manganese. In terms of vitamins it has B6 and folate. However nutmeg is also used as a natural pain suppressant due to the presence of borneol. And nutmeg is used as an anti-inflammatory and an aid against insomnia.
WHEN IS NUTMEG IN SEASON?
The short answer is always. However after planting a seed it takes over half a decade for this tree to bear fruit. Being a tropical, these trees can then then yield over 1,000 seeds throughout the year.
HOW SHOULD NUTMEG BE STORED?
Both the powdered and dried, whole seed should be stored in an airtight container away from sunlight at room temperature. The whole form, while a pain to grind, will keep for years unlike the already ground powdered form.
WHEN A TOXICOLOGIST CALLS NUTMEG “INTERESTING” SHOULD I BE WORRIED?
This spice is more potent then you realize. It’s long been rumored to cause hallucinations but in reality you have to consume so much of it to experience them that you’ll become physically ill. This feeling of nausea ironically has been described as an “out of body” experience. But while the presence of myristicin has been thought to cause hallucinations and delusions, it isn’t present in strong enough quantities in nutmeg. However in much larger amounts it’s used in the production of some psychotropic drugs.