Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Spice of the Month - Nutmeg

Nutmeg has been known in the West for a long time.  Nutmeg is a real favourite of mine.  It has a subtle warm flavour and a lovely smell.  Nutmeg comes from the same tree as mace.  It is a little sweeter than mace.

A classic childhood memory for me is of custard tarts with ground nutmeg on top.

In medieval times it was believed that nutmeg could ward off the plague! Nutmeg oil was also used as a cure for insomnia.
In olden days nutmeg graters were made out of silver and worn like a necklace.

Nutmeg is used in sweet puddings, custards and cakes but I use it mostly in savoury dishes – pumpkin, lamb casseroles and especially on spinach or silverbeet.

The English use nutmeg in Christmas cakes.  It can be used in banana bread, doughnuts, cookies, pumpkin pies and chocolate dishes.

Try grating nutmeg over vanilla ice cream.  Also try adding it to mashed potatoes.  And with carrots. Nutmeg goes particularly well with parmesan. Try adding some nutmeg into soups made from split peas. 

Don't buy ground nutmeg – get the whole ones and grate them yourself as required on a microplane.

Important: Don't use more than half a nutmeg at a time – it becomes toxic if you eat it in large quantities – some say just 2 whole nutmegs will make you very sick – not something I want to try out!

BIBLIOGRAPHY - with thanks to Auckland Libraries

Cook's Encyclopaedia of Spices by Sallie Morris & Lesley Mackley
Discovering Vegetables, Herbs & Spices by Susanna Lyle
Spice Market by Jane Lawson
Spicery by Ian & Elizabeth Hemphill
Spices & Natural Flavourings by Jennifer Mulherin
Spices by Sophie Grigson
Spices Condiments and Seasonings by Kenneth T Farrell
Spices, Salt and Aromatics in the English Kitchen by Elizabeth David
The Cook's Companion by Stephanie Alexander

1 comment:

  1. I love nutmeg, too!!! I use it in candied carrots - cooked with brown sugar and butter and NUTMEG!!


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