Nutmeg, Myristica fragrans, comes to us from the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Historically, it was only found in the homes of the very affluent, and its source was kept secret by Arab traders. Throughout history, in particular, during the Pax Romana, it has been valued for its aroma, flavor, and medicinal value and was not rediscovered by Europeans until the 11th century. The supply of this spice was fought over by the Dutch and the British for 200 years. The British, losing the fight, received in trade a colony in the New World, New York!
Today nutmeg is included in many spice mixtures around the world, from North Africa and India to France and the Caribbean, just to name a few. It is a favorite pumpkin spice in the United States, especially during our holiday season.
Nutmeg is a seed and not a nut that is found growing on a tropical up to 66 ft. evergreen. When harvested, the nutmeg apple’s outer layer is sometimes used for jams. Inside, the seed is covered in a fleshy aril surrounding that seed which is used for the spice mace. The seeds are slowly dried in the sun for six to eight weeks.
The spice can be found in our markets as a whole seed or ground nutmeg. The flavor is probably the best when it is ground for immediate use. Small nutmeg graters can be found in culinary stores or on the internet.
The flavor of nutmeg is very versatile in that it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, especially sauces, cheese, and egg-based dishes. In drinks, it can be used in coffee, eggnog, and mulled wine.
Caution is advised to not exceed nutmeg’s culinary use because it is a hallucinogenic and can be toxic, or produce allergic reactions.
Additional resource: https://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/myristica.html
Sweet Potato Soufflé
- 4 large sweet potatoes baked and cut into chunks
- 3 large apples peeled and chopped and steamed until soft
- 1/3 c sweet butter
- ⅛-¼ c frozen orange juice according to taste
- orange zest
- ½ t nutmeg
- 1 t cinnamon
- Place all items in a bowl and use an immersion blender to whip together.
- Place in an appropriately sized baking dish or covered dish.
- Heat and serve after decorating with a light dusting of cinnamon.
Spiced Whipped Cream
- 2 c or one container of heavy whipping cream
- 3 T powdered sugar – adjust according to taste
- ¼ t ground ginger
- ⅛ t ground nutmeg
- ¼ t ground cinnamon
- ½ t pure Mexican vanilla extract
- Begin by whipping the cream at medium speed. Add the sugar first and then the other ingredients. Continue whipping the cream until firm peaks form.
- Transfer the spiced whipped cream to a covered container to chill in the refrigerator.
- It is delicious as a dessert topping or on hot chocolate. This mixture will store well for a few days and will continue to be a welcome topping during our chilly winter weather.