Nutmeg - How To Use

(Also known as True Nutmeg and Fragrant Nutmeg)


Not everyone is aware, but nutmeg is the seed, or more so, it is the kernel in the seed, and mace is the lacy covering of nutmeg. The nutmeg tree can yield more than 10,000 seeds in the year with several harvests. Nutmeg originates from the Maluku islands, the trinity of islands producing Nutmeg, Cloves and Mace. Nutmeg has a bittersweet and woody flavour of depth for both sweet and savoury dishes. It could overpower a dish, but it works well with other strong spices. We always grind nutmeg last minute when making a blend to prolong the flavour as it can evaporate very quickly when milled.


Nutmeg produces a group of chemicals called neolignans found in its oil. These are known to act on the tongue and the mouth to give a numbing sense of lasting coolness. Nutmeg may fight depression and anxiety, insomnia and boost brainpower. It has powerful anti-inflammatories and antioxidant properties. 

Interesting Facts

  • Native to the Banda island in the Maluku islands, it has a long and fierce history. As a commodity, traders wanted to keep its provenance secret to keep the price inflated.
  • Nutmeg hosts aphrodisiac and healing properties. Large consumption of nutmeg will act as a hallucinogenic, customarily fashionable with the wealthy for this very reason. During the 16th Century, nutmeg was in such demand that it was more valuable than gold in price. Initiating a race to find the source between the Dutch, Portuguese and the British, the Dutch eventually took over the island of Banda. However, in a twist of fate, the Dutch gave up one of the Maluku islands to the British in return for one of their settlements in the New World. They gave Britain "New Amsterdam", which today we know as "New York".
  • On a Saturday evening to the Jewish ritual Farewell for the Feminine Aspect of God, nutmeg is passed around the table along with other spices to remind those that her presence should infuse the week like the sweet smell of spice that fills the air. 
  • Nutmeg is a key ingredient in mulled wine, cider and eggnog.

Chief flavour profile

Myristicin: (woody, warm and balsamic) the myristicin compound makes up a minute part of nutmeg oil, but it plays a big role in the overall flavour. This woody element of myristicin compound compliments ginger, black pepper and anise. The oil properties of nutmeg produce a group of chemicals called neolignans that numbs our tongue and gives an enduring coolness.  

Blends to try with Nutmeg

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