Nutmeg Article -
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Nutmeg is the seed of the fruit which grows on the tree Myristica fragans, the same fruit from which mace is derived. The oval-shaped seeds have a sweet, spicy flavor. When ripe, the fruit splits in half, exposing the netlike membrane or aril, known as the mace. The mace closely enwraps a dark brown, brittle shell inside of which is the single, glossy brown, oily seed, the nutmeg.


Commonly used in sweet foods and enhancing savory foods, nutmeg blends well with other spices. It is found in the cuisines of Italy, the Caribbean, France, India, Germany, Scandinavia, Greece, Latin America and the Middle East.


Nutmeg originating from the East Indies has a relatively high volatile oil content and a distinctively rich flavor and aroma. As opposed to the highly aromatic East Indian nutmeg, the lighter colored West Indian type has a milder flavor and higher fatty oil content.


Connecticut is known as "The Nutmeg State" owing to the tradition that slick Yankee peddlers would sell whittled wooden "nutmegs" to unsuspecting housewives.


    Light brown

    Flavor & Aroma

    Strongly aromatic, citrus, piney

    Sensory Profile

    Piney, citrus-like aromatics combine with sweet and bitter tastes to provide nutmeg with its distinctive flavor.

      Oct. 25, 2010 11:34 am
      Nutmeg has sedative properties, so add some to warm milk if you suffer from insomnia. In large quantities, it can actually be toxic, but you don't run that danger in most culinary applications.
      Lisa D 
      Oct. 26, 2010 4:57 am
      My mother in law adds a little bit of nutmeg to filling for her manicotti....delish!
      Oct. 26, 2010 6:34 am
      Question - when using a whole nutmeg seed, how far down do you grate it? Is the whole thing to be grated and used, or just the outside, dark brown part?
      Oct. 26, 2010 10:52 am
      A little bit of nutmeg really perks up spinach!
      Oct. 26, 2010 10:56 am
      I love Nutmeg because it is so versatile. I love Old Fashioned donuts with nutmeg as the main flavor. The most nutmeg-y thing I make is Spaetzle. Once I make the Spaetzle I saute it with onions.
      Oct. 26, 2010 11:23 am
      LMM-- You use the whole nutmeg, the flavoring is throuhout. You can enjoy it in so many dishes. Savory and sweet dishes. Grating it fresh is the only way to go. :)
      Oct. 26, 2010 11:52 am
      fitchick, my mom (who grew up in rural Fiji, without most modern conveniences)said that they used to put nutmeg in babys' bottles to calm them down when fussy. We (Indians) use nutmeg in some desserts, and she always warned me not to overdo it so I don't put everyone to sleep :-) Nutmeg is my secret ingredient in quiche and greens (unless cooking Indian style--there are enough other spices going on in that case). I only use it fresh ground. In it's whole form, it lasts forever.
      Oct. 27, 2010 6:46 am
      Nutmeg is a sedative? Interesting. So, one could make "nutmeg milk" before bedtime and sleep pretty well. Awesome. That aside, the family and I adore nutmeg and we put it in just about anything sweet. I like it in cream sauces or something with a cream sauce as well as greens. A really tasty and versatile spice :)
      Oct. 28, 2010 6:54 am
      I like to add a small amount of nutmeg to my mashed potatoes, (along with the butter, light cream, salt, pepper and parsley of course). I copied the idea from a friend of mine that is German.
      Oct. 29, 2010 12:48 pm
      nutmeg can be very dangerous in amounts more than two teaspoons. nutmeg contains large amounts of Myristicin a compound with psychoactive properties that could potentially cause hallucinations lasting up to 72 hours. there have also been two known fatal overdoses! one age 8 and the other age 55.
      Oct. 29, 2010 3:21 pm
      As a nurse, I find it quite interesting to learn of the sedative and psychoactive properties of nutmeg - by far my favourite spice! I have put it in absolutely everything from potatoes to pork tenderloin to pumpkin pie. Yum!
      Oct. 29, 2010 4:37 pm
      I love baking cubed butternut squash with butter, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg! So incredibly delish! Nutmeg is also great addition to French toast!
      Oct. 30, 2010 3:37 pm
      I like to use a dash each of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves when I make beef stew or boiled dinner. They go well with the herbs you would also typically use. But don't over do it...too much and the whole pot goes nasty.
      Oct. 31, 2010 7:59 am
      My Mom always put nutmeg in her leek and potato soup. Now that she's passed, I remember her by cooking many of her favorite dishes. I made a leek, fennel and sausage soup a couple weeks ago and though the recipe didn't call for it, I put in a teaspoon of nutmeg. The soup was incredible.
      Oct. 31, 2010 11:28 am
      I add nutmeg to my chicken salad sandwiches. You can check out my recipe.
      Oct. 31, 2010 12:29 pm
      Billylynn-what recipe do you have for leek and potato soup? Or the leek, fennel and sausage soup-that sounds like something my hubby would love. Those sound like something to try sometime this autumn!
      Oct. 31, 2010 1:05 pm
      I just adore Nutmeg, anything with nutmeg is a huge hit with me. One of the reasons why I love fall baking...
      Nov. 1, 2010 12:03 am
      I love baking with nutmeg. During the fall and winter all of my goodies have nutmeg, clove and of course cinnamon. The idea of nutmeg in milk sounds delish. its also good in hot cocoa before bed
      Jan. 1, 2015 2:07 pm
      I don't think nutmeg belongs in savory cream sauces or any savory dish, I think it makes it taste weird and terrible. Just because someone did it a long time ago, does not mean it belongs in savory dishes/sauces. When its in there, it ruins the entire dish for me. Nutmeg is a sweet spice, not a savory one.
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