Origin: Indonesia 

    Nutmeg is a lovely added touch to recipes from pumpkin pie  to cocktails. And let’s not forget pasta!

    Nutty and slightly sweet, nutmeg is an intense spice that has a strong and distinct aroma. For those who are more sensitive to heat, nutmeg might seem almost spicy. Unlike ground nutmeg, whole nutmeg lasts indefinitely as long as its stored properly. What really distinguishes whole nutmeg from its ground counterpart is the potent flavour. Whole nutmeg is stronger tasting and has considerably more flavour

    While nutmeg is considered a sweet seasoning, it’s not your typical sugary sweet. It’s more of an earthy, nutty sweetness. That’s what makes it so versatile, and it’s why it can be added to savoury dishes as well as sweet ones. Just know that a little goes a long way with the unique spice. It can be used whole and grated directly into a recipe or measured or shaken from a canister of pre-ground nutmeg.

    To use whole nutmeg, you will need a microplane or nutmeg grater to shave off a small portion of the seed. When including nutmeg, make sure not to use a heavy hand, as this intense spice can easily overpower the flavours of a dish.

    Nutmeg is also an ingredient in different spice blends, such as pumpkin pie spice, ras el hanout, and garam masala . It is also sprinkled over a variety of hot beverages like cappuccino and eggnog for added flavour and garnish.

    Nutmeg can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes to add a note of sweetness. Nutmeg is particularly well suited for creamy or cheesy dishes and is often added to alfredo or bechamel sauce to create depth. 

    It is good to know that this spice also combines well with bay, chili, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, garlic, honey, parsley, pepper, tarragon and turmeric. As a baking spice, nutmeg is often found alongside cinnamon, cloves, anise, allspice, cardamom, and ginger. In savoury situations, nutmeg is commonly blended with cumin, black pepper, coriander, sage, thyme, chili peppers, mustard seed, and turmeric.

    The first rule of cooking with nutmeg is that a little does a lot; you don’t need much. It complements meat well and goes great with root vegetables and winter squash. You can use it when making hearty soups or stews. And nutmeg is just as great for baking as it is for cooking. It’s a key ingredient in many desserts, including pumpkin pie, custards, and egg nog during the holidays. People use it in cakes, too.

    Use grated nutmeg to liven up custards, crème brûlée, rice pudding, pound cakes, pancake batter, egg nog and mulled wine. Sprinkle it on top of desserts like cheesecake for both decoration and flavour or add it during cooking or baking.