We call the peeled seeds of the nutmeg nutmeg or nutmeg. Like the seed skirt (mace), they are very aromatic. Just arived: nutmeg from Kerala, India - no additives at all. 

The nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans)  an evergreen tree that originates from the Moluccas and is called pala there. Nowadays it also grows elsewhere, but not yet for so long.

In the Middle Ages, the nutmeg trade was in the hands of Arabs, who supplied Europe with what was then called the note muge, a beloved but precious spice and medicine at the time. In the seventh century, the demand for this drug was huge. It was used against the plague, a pandemic that killed 75 million (!) people worldwide.

The Arabs kept the site secret and saw the price skyrocket.

The Arab monopoly was broken when Vaso de Gama discovered the archipelago where the nutmeg grew: the Banda Islands in the Pacific. In the seventeenth century these islands came into the hands of the Dutch VOC, which did not shy away from any means to guarantee the monopoly. In 1621, Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon Coen proceeded to the violent 'extirpation' of the Banda Islands, under the guise that the population continued to sell nutmeg to the Portuguese and the British against the VOC's ban.

Coen ordered his troops to massacre the population. All nutmeg trees were also cut down, except those on the island of Banda neira. There he reorganized the production by dividing the largely depopulated island into lots and leasing it out to so-called perkeniers. These could only deliver to the Company. The 'perken', as the plots were called, were maintained by 'perkhorigen', slaves from all parts of Asia.

The British succeeded in breaking the monopoly of the Dutch state at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Shortly before that, in 1796, the VOC had been nationalized. The British presence was short-lived, as the Dutch quickly regained Banda. In that short span of time, the British secured the planting stock and introduced cultivation in Grenada, Pendang, Ceylon, India and Zanzibar.

Zanzibar was not the first island off the East African coast where nutmeg was grown. Already in the seventeenth century, the French botanist Jean Poivre succeeded in obtaining fertile seed under the VOC monopoly and planting it on the Île de France, as Mauritius was then called.

Africa has various indigenous alternatives to nutmeg, such as the West African ehuru or pèbè or calabash nutmeg (Monodora myristica). The taste is similar to that of the 'real' nutmeg, but the nut is more peppery, which is why it is also referred to as 'pepper'. Unfortunately, the home market for this special 'nutmeg' is shrinking due to the rise of the 'real nutmeg'. In Madagascar, for example, various mock nutmegs grow naturally, such as the Rarabee, the Bashi-bashi and the Rhanha-horac.

The Banda Islands have always remained an important production area, but most nutmeg today comes from India, especially from Tamil Nandu. Most nutmeg entering the Netherlands, however, comes from Indonesia (86%). In our country, only 1% of all nutmeg imported comes from India. Our nutmeg, for example. It comes from Ernakulamu, a district with the capital Kochi, the former Cochin. Ernakulam is located in Kerala, the region where our Malabar and Tellicherry pepper comes from. Our nutmeg farmers, united in a corporation, grow nutmeg organically.

What exactly is nutmeg? We know it as a nut, but actually it is a kernel, the inner part of the seed, stripped of the hard shell. In many countries you can buy nutmeg in the shell , in most western countries however nutmeg is almost exclusively available without shell. Not only the kernel, but also the seed coat and fruit pulp are edible. The seed coat is considered a separate spice, and is called mace.

The nutmeg is oval (elliptoid) shaped and about two and a half centimeters long. The outside is fancifully ribbed, a pattern that you can also see on the inside. Our nuts weigh from 5 to 5.5 grams apiece.

The word nutmeg is a corruption of the Latin “nuces moschatae”, meaning “musk-smelling notes.” These are the distinguished essential oils, those with an arterisk * are the primary flavor and odor determinants of this warm, fragrant spice:

  • α- and β-pinene, woody pine scent, as in cumin, pine (napple), juniper and hemp,
  • elemicin *, hallucigonene, acrid smelling substance in nutmeg,
  • limonene, the scent of lemon peel,
  • methyl eugenol *, a floral aroma (mimosa),

Why not organic?

In order to be able to supply this organically grown nutmeg under the label organic, we will have to be certified as a packer / producer of the spice. We are not. Although we process and store organic products and products from regular cultivation strictly separately, we are not (yet) allowed to use the label organic.

Smell and taste

Nutmeg has a scent and aroma that other herbs and spices like to refer to because it is so characteristic of nutmeg. The fragrance palette combines well with products that carry the same essential building blocks, including cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, ginger root, dill, sage, thyme and parsley, vegetables such as cabbage, carrot (cavalo nero, cauliflower), pumpkin and spinach, potatoes and onions, lamb, chicken, sharp-tasting cheeses such as Gruyère (think cheese fondu) but also cream cheese or ricotta salata, and fruits such as pear and banana. And of course in béchamel sauce.

Usage

To grind nutmeg you still need tools, a grater, a slicer or a mortar. Not every nutmeg grinder is convenient, and many people fall back on the old grater. The disadvantage of this grater is that you cannot grate the last bit without damaging your fingers.

Moreover, the inconvenience of the rotating slicers is that not every size nutmeg will fit. And you cannot get the last thin piece shaved either. The solution is to crush a nutmeg into chunks with a mortar and grind them in a spice grinder. Works wonderfully. Downside? That by breaking the nutmeg you may lose aroma.

Nutmeg is heavily underestimated in Western European cuisine. The cookbooks stammer a bit about green beans and cauliflower, but here it usually ends. Nutmeg is of course indispensable in Indonesian cuisine, nor in Indian cuisine.

Features

  • 100% dried kernels of the Myristica fragfrans
  • origin: India, Ernakulam (Kochi/Cochin) 
  • harvest 2020

Availibility

  • available in pouch and glass
  • pouches contain 8, 14 or 45-50 nuts respectively (approx. 45, 75 and 250 grams)
  • glass jar contains 14 nuts, approximately 75 grams

Gift packages

  • the flat box has a flat 'velvet' inlay, and is suitable for  our small and medium-sized pouches (150 and 250 ml), marked with an arterisk *. Capacity: 4-5 bags, depending on the type of spice
  • for further details (and images) of our gift packaging, please refer to the product page

Health

Raw nutmeg, including freshly ground nutmeg, contains a lot of myristicin and elemicin, both known as hallicinogenic substances. When you use nutmeg as a spice, you will not notice it, but in a higher dosage you will. It is based on the popular Indonesian nutmeg cigarette, the kretek, which also contains cloves. Overdose means eating one or more whole nuts per day. Nutmeg is harmless in normal use.

General advice

  • keep your nutmeg in a dry and pretty cool place
  • the expiry date is meant as an indication

Best before

  • August 2022


Origin
India, Ernakalum (Kerala) Kochi (Cochin)
Botanical name
Myristicaceae Myristica fragrans
Ingredients
No additions 100% dried seed
Allergen information
Contains no allergenes

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Nutmeg

These nutmegs can be applied in each and every type of nutmeg mill now for sale
  • €3.50


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Tags: malabar, nutmeg