Organic Whole Nutmeg
Country of Origin:
Our organic whole nutmeg is the seed of the evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans. The inner seed is enveloped by a bright red aril known by spice traders as mace. If you stroll past a nutmeg tree on a sunny beach, you may spot the yellow, peach-like fruits drooping high in the branches. When the fruits are ripe, they split open revealing the crimson mace aril, signaling the spices are ready for harvest and curing.
The tree is native to the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia and is principally cultivated there and in the West Indies. The spice nutmeg has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavour many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog. The fleshy arils surrounding the nutmeg seed are the source of the spice mace.
Nutmeg and mace are frequently mentioned in the oldest scriptures of Hinduism in India, the Vedas, composed between 1500 and 1000 BCE. Nutmeg and mace’s arrival in China was much later than in India; the first reference of what could have been nutmeg does not appear until the 3rd century CE in Ji Han’s Nanfang Caomu Zhuang (Record of Southern Plants and Trees). In it, he mentions a fragrant spice that comes from a tree whose flowers are colored like a lotus. Nutmeg is not commonly mentioned in the Chinese literature until the 8th century when it is used to treat diarrhea, dysentery, abdominal pain and bloating, reduced appetite, and indigestion.
Nutmeg and mace were largely unknown to the West until the 5h or 6th century CE. Pliny was the first to write about a tree he called comacum, which had a fragrant nut, but it is not certain if he was really referring to nutmeg. The 1st-century CE Greek physician Dioscorides also vaguely refers to a red bark of unknown origin called macir. The first clear references to nutmeg and mace are not found until the Byzantine medical texts of the 6th century, which refer to a red bark, macis (mace), and a musky nut, nux muscata (nutmeg).
Nutmeg vs. Mace?
- The Myristica fragrans tree offers more than just one aromatic spice. Before the nutmeg seed is ready for culinary use, it has a red-orange aril (or seed covering) encasing it. This is removed, pressed flat, dried, and becomes mace—a spice similar in flavor to nutmeg but usually described as being more pungent and spicier, like cinnamon or black pepper. Like nutmeg, it can be bought whole or ground.
- Mace is not as commonly used or as easy to find as nutmeg, but if you happen to have it, you can swap it out for nutmeg in most recipes, just use half the amount called for in the recipe, as mace is typically stronger in flavor.
In order to keep our organic herbs, spices & seasoning blends as fresh as possible we keep our standing inventory very low. There may be up to a 4 week lead time for this product to get you the freshest products possible.
- Store below 15°C and < 65% humidity.
- Store in the dark as light degrades flavors.
- Mason jars make great storage containers.
- Can be frozen to prolong shelf life.