Don't say NO to Nutmeg
Do you have memories of Nutmeg flavouring the rice pudding skins from your childhood?
For me that was the best bit about rice pudding, for others, dis-gust-ing!
If you love nutmeg you are with me already; if you hate it – hang in there.
First some information about Nutmeg: Myristca Fragrant.
Did you know, nutmeg and mace are from the same plant?… Mace being the outer covering of the hard nutmeg seed.
It is cultivated in the West Indies and originates from the Molucca Islands and Indonesia from where international trade began via Arab traders centuries ago, remember "Nathaniel's Nutmeg?"
Nutmeg was highly prized for its flavour and Nutmeg was highly prized for its health and medicinal benefits.
The claims for its benefits a varied;
- Digestive issues
- Heart complaints
- As a Sedative
- and an Aphrodisiac ?!
Culpepper the renowned English herbalist said that Nutmeg induced sleep delirium.
William Salmon claimed that oil of mace or nutmeg rubbed into certain places excited passion !
Nutmeg was said to possess magical properties and that carrying nutmeg cured complaints…
- In Yorkshire – relief from rhuematic pain
- In Devon – boils
- In Lincolnshire – backache
- Even luck in gambling, although I wouldn't bet on it!
As a culinary ingredient, the wonderful thing about Nutmeg is that it enhances so many things, sweet or savoury.
If you have a loathing for Nutmeg on your rice pudding, take a tip from my Mother and spark up cabbage with a hefty pinch of nutmeg along with black pepper. Makes cabbage memorable for good reasons and don't stop there – spinach, mashed potato, fish and my particular favorite –
Raw Cacao powder, coconut milk, pinch of cinnamon and a generous amount of Nutmeg sweetened with honey or your favorite sweetener.
Ayurvedically speaking, Nutmeg pacifies Vata and Kapha doshas and increases Pitta and is considered a warming spice in the 'pungent, bitter and astringent' tastes.
It is used as a sleep aid in warm milk before bed, to stimulate digestion and appetite, and combined with bay leaf and black pepper to flavour plain rice and pilaf.
In Aromatherapy, Nutmeg is used as an essential oil, a pick me up, warming spice, good for adrenal fatigue and as support for a tired nervous system as well as in combination with other oils as a mental stimulant with a calming and focusing aroma. Again recommended for digestive stimulation and in a massage blend for the abdomen for those with poor or weak digestive fire. Warming and pain relieving in blends for joints and muscles, an analgesic, anti rheumatic and antispasmodic, with ginger for a more dramatic warming effect. (concentration of 5% or less)
My tip – don't bother with anything except whole nutmegs and a nutmeg grater (very fine grater). The flavour of freshly grated just cant compair once a packet of pre grated has been opened even for just a while.
Get adventurous with your nutmeg grater!
Tell me your favorite combination…I would love to hear about your taste sensations.
Nutmeg and grater -Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net