Nutmeg | Things You Didn’t Know About
Nutmeg is one ofthe best-known fragrant spices. It is the name given to the kernel of the fruit of a tropical tree.
Most nutmegs come from the Philippines, West Indies, Moluccas or Spice Islands, and Brazil. There are about 80 species of nutmeg trees and shrubs. The most common, whose botanical name is Myristica moschata, is a handsome evergreen with a straight trunk about 7 meters high. It is covered with branches from the base to tip. The flowers are small and yellow, with a perfume like lilies of the valley. After about eight years of growth, the tree begins bearing fruit.
The tree blooms and bears fruit in continuous succession all the year round, but the principal harvests occur about three times a year.
The fruit is about the size and shape; of a pear. When ripe it is golden yellow in color, the fruit opens in halves. Inside is a red, fleshy part called “the mace“, and the nut-like seed. Inside this seed is the portion of the nutmeg used as a spice.
After the nuts are separated from the mace, they are dried in ovens until the kernels rattle in the shells. Then the shells are removed. Although nutmegs are usually exported while still whole in order to retain their flavor, they are used for flavoring food only after they have been grated.