advertisement



Cooking & Recipes


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Cooking With Spices: Nutmeg

cooking with spices nutmeg

Nutmeg is the seed of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans), an evergreen native to the Bandas Island in the Moluccas, or Spice Islands, of Indonesia. The deep, warm depth of nutmeg spice made it immediately popular when it was introduced to southern Europe in the sixth century, spreading throughout the continent over the next 500 years. By the 1800s, nutmeg was being produced in the West Indies, Grenada and Trinidad for export worldwide.

The nutmeg seed is egg-shaped, about the size of a small walnut, and covered in a lacy red covering called mace, which is another spice. It takes at least seven years for the nutmeg tree to produce both spices.

Historically, nutmeg has been used orally to address digestive concerns such as flatulence, nausea and diarrhea. It has also been used to treat bad breath, fever, headaches, insomnia, even as an aphrodisiac. Topically, nutmeg was used as an analgesic to treat mouth sores and toothache. However, more research is needed to establish reliable information about the safety, efficacy, and the health benefits of nutmeg for all of these applications.

Women who are pregnant or lactating should avoid using nutmeg orally in medicinal amounts, as it may act as an abortifacient.

Nutmeg has proven to have antioxidant properties, and in a small study, looked to offer protective effects for the liver and testicles against radiation therapy. It also may cause psychoactive effects such as hallucinations - often described as unpleasant - when taken in extremely high doses (one to three whole seeds).

As a culinary spice, nutmeg is pungent and sweet, and a small amount goes a long way. It is often associated with winter holidays and is used in baked goods, eggnogs and winter puddings. In the Netherlands and Italy, where it is a popular spice for savory dishes, it is added to vegetables, sausages, meat and preserves.

Whether in whole seed or powdered form, keep it in a tightly sealed jar away from light and heat. Whole seed can last up to four years; powdered spice for one. Whole seeds offer a fresher flavor, but require a fine grater to create tiny shavings for cooking.

Dr. Weil's take:
I always keep a nutmeg seed and a fine grating rasp in my kitchen. Nutmeg is not just for holiday drinks or baked desserts; it can add a deep, complex, nutty flavor to a wide variety of foods. Try it on raw fruits: grate fresh nutmeg onto fresh apples, pears, pineapple slices, or even add a pinch to fruit salads. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon for even more punch.

Grated nutmeg works well on vegetables too; try it on roasted potatoes, pumpkin, steamed cabbage and all types of squash. I love it as a crucial spice to make Brussels sprouts taste amazing. It also pairs well with foods cooked in coconut oil.


More information on nutmeg:


Related Topics

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here