The Nutmeg Tree: The Tree That Gives The Nutmeg
Nutmeg is one of the most common spices in cooking. But do you know the tree that gives this aromatic nut? We suggest you discover this tropical tree called nutmeg tree.
Presentation of this tree
The muscadier is a tree in the Myristicaceae family. Its botanical name is Myristica fragrans.
This aromatic evergreen tree is grown for its fruit yielding nutmeg. It can reach a dozen meters in height.
It has smooth leaves of a beautiful shiny green and produces small, fragrant yellow flowers gathered in clusters.
Only the female trees bear apple or pear-shaped fruit after 8 years.
The nutmeg that is grated into culinary preparations actually comes from the fruit kernel. This kernel is surrounded by a red-colored aril (or husk), called macis.
Copyright: Alexander Daniel
Note: Mace also used as a spice has a flavor and fragrance similar to nutmeg, but less pronounced. As for the flesh of the fruit, it is edible and is usually eaten candied.
The nutmeg tree is a tropical tree that requires an average temperature of 22°C. Originally from the Banda Islands in Indonesia, it is now grown in the West Indies and Grenada.
This tree appreciates a moist and porous soil. It accepts a location near the sea but must be protected from direct sunlight.
The fruit is picked when ripe, when the fruit opens and reveals its stone surrounded by its bright red aril.
The stone is covered by a triple rind and must be broken to recover the kernel called nutmeg.
Did you know that?
Nutmeg can be used grated in savoury dishes such as gratin dauphinois or sweet dishes such as apple and spice cake! It is of course used in the composition of various Creole dishes.
This spice also brings its aromatic note to cocktails like punch and can be used to make liqueur.
In moderate doses, it is reputed to be digestive, aphrodisiac and tonic. But beware: it is toxic if consumed in large doses.