What would eggnog and pumpkin pie be without nutmeg? I’ll tell you. They would be bland and so would a lot of other bread, pie, cookie, egg, and milk based recipes. However, there is more to cooking with nutmeg than the sweet nutty taste of the dishes. Find out more about its history, benefits, uses, and nutrition facts.
Nutmeg is the seed of the Myristica fragans tree which is found in Indonesia. The seed of the plant is the spice nutmeg but the lacy outer covering of the seed is made into mace. Even though they grow in such close proximity, the two will provide entirely different tastes.
It is believed that nutmeg has been used as a spice since at least 758 BC and possibly as a medicinal ingredient prior to that. Arabs traded nutmeg during the middle ages. During Elizabethan times, the spice was used to ward off the plague. Eventually the spice made its way to the Americas where it is still in use today.
Scientific research suggests that nutmeg may help lower blood pressure and ease stomach upset. In low doses it may even be able to stop diarrhea. Smelling fresh grated nutmeg or nutmeg essential oil to stimulate the brain and help relieve stress. It is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which make the oil a possible choice for relieving joint and muscle pain. Do not take in large doses, if taken internally, as it can be toxic.
In the United States nutmeg’s most well known uses are with fresh eggnog or in pumpkin pie; however, it is found in many more recipes. Nutmeg is often used in baked goods such as muffins, breads, pies, cookies, and puddings. It also goes well with many fruit, vegetable, milk and egg based dishes. Adding nutmeg to mulled cider or mulled wine is another way to enjoy the flavor of this spice.
Nutritionally nutmeg is rich in potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. It also contains some iron, copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. Vitamin A, C and choline as well as thiamin, folate, riboflavin, niacin and Vitamin B6 are included in this spice. 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of nutmeg has 525 calories but eating that much nutmeg is not recommended.
Cooking with nutmeg can give new life to your favorite dishes and help you introduce new recipes to your family. Remember, nutmeg isn’t just for eggnog and pumpkin pie! Broaden your recipe collection with some delicious dishes which include nutmeg.