Nutmeg spice - a versatile spice known for its sweet aroma
The nutmeg spice is very popularly known for its hard to resist taste and sweet aroma. It is used mainly in sweet dishes and compliments egg and some vegetable dishes very well.
The nutmeg tree, in Latin is called"Myristica fragrans" produces two spices, mace and nutmeg, both of which are very similar in taste. Mace having a more delicate flavour but they can both be used interchangeably. The nutmeg is the seed part of the fruit and the lacy covering (which is called aril) on the kernel is the mace spice.
The tree is indigenous to Indonesia and is now grown in the West Indies. Not only is nutmeg and mace favoured for their hard to resist flavour, they also have some interesting health benefits which will definitely interest you.
Culinary uses of nutmeg and mace:
- grated nutmeg is popularly used in punches and juices that you would normally use milk or milk based products in.
- nutmeg powder can be added to omelettes, other egg dishes, cheese dishes, best used in soups such as chicken or bean soup.
- both mace and nutmeg is used when baking pies, biscuits, muffins, cakes, breads and milky custards.
- both are great in root vegetable dishes.
Health Benefits of Nutmeg:
Nutmeg oil has medicinal properties which include its use as an antiseptic, a sedative, a bactericide, a stimulant and also anti-inflammatory properties therefore making is very beneficial in treating:
- pains such as muscular pain as it acts as a sedative. Its anti-inflammatory properties also makes it an effective treatment for arthritis by massaging the area where the pain is.
- blood pressure, where it acts as a stimulant.
- good for the heart as it stimulates the cardiovascular system.
- acts as a natural antiseptic and also contains eugenol (used for toothache relief), it is also used an ingredient in some toothpastes and antiseptic soaps.
The health benefits of nutmeg are very similar to that of mace because they are closely related.
Interestingly, nutmeg powder is also used on a new born baby's navel in. After the navel is cleaned daily, the grated nutmeg powder is mixed with regular powder and sprinkled in it. This is said to heal the navel very quickly.
Mace can also be used as a remedy for belly aches. It is first dried and then boiled to make a tea.