What is Nutmeg ? Selection, Storage, Uses, Benefits
What Is Nutmeg ?
Nutmeg refers to the seed or ground spice of several species of the Myristica genus. It is a dark-leaved, evergreen tree cultivated for two spices derived from its fruit: nutmeg and mace. It is also a commercial source of an essential oil and nutmeg butter. Nutmeg is the inner seed, while mace is the red, lace-like substance that covers the seed. Although their flavor is similar, nutmeg is said to have a warmer, spicier flavor than mace.
How Is It Used ?
It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. In USA, one of the most common uses is in desserts, especially apple or pumpkin pie. Nutmeg is also used in a variety of beverages, such as eggnog, chai, mulled wine etc. It is one of the spices included in pumpkin spice mix.
It is particularly well suited for cheesy dishes and is often added to alfredo or béchamel sauce to create depth. The spicy flavor of nutmeg provides a nice contrast to the creaminess of the cheese. It can also be used to flavor meats. And is often an ingredient in spice blends such as garam masala or curry.
Selection And Storing
These can be purchased in two forms, whole or ground. Ground nutmeg has been milled to a rough powder form and, although convenient, tends to lose its flavor and aroma quickly. For this reason, ground nutmeg is generally sold in very small quantities.
Whole nutmeg will stay fresh indefinitely, but should always be stored away from heat and moisture. If your nutmeg use is only occasional, buying whole nutmeg is the best option because each time it is grated it will provide fresh, fragrant, and flavorful spice.
It contains component similar to menthol, which has natural pain-relieving characteristics. Therefore, by adding it as a spice in your cooking, you can reduce pain from wounds, injuries, strains, and chronic inflammation from conditions like arthritis.
It contains many essential volatile oils such as myristicin, elemicin, eugenol and safrole. This has anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful for treating joint and muscle pain. Just a few drops of the essential oil on the affected area can treat inflammation, swelling, joint pain, muscle pain and sores.
Helps in Digestion
It helps to stimulate the digestive process by promoting peristaltic motion in the smooth muscles of the intestine. Also, it induces the secretion of various gastric and intestinal juices that ease the digestive process.
It contains essential oils which have a carminative effect on our system. Grate a pinch of nutmeg in your soups and stews, and have it. It also helps in removing excessive gas from the system.
Improves Brain Health
It contains various components of essential oil, called myristicin and macelignan. These compounds helps to reduce the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function. Nutmeg is an aphrodisiac, stimulating the nerves in the brain.
It is known to be an effective ingredient for treating depression and anxiety as its essential oil tend to ease fatigue and stress. In times of stress, it can help lower blood pressure.
Treats Bad Breath
The active antibacterial components present in it helps to fight conditions like halitosis, also known as bad breath. It kills the bacteria that causes this condition and boosts the immunity of your gums and teeth.
Bad breath could be a sign of toxicity in your system. It also helps in clearing out toxins from the liver and kidneys.
Herbal and traditional medicines have long used nutmeg to boost the appearance and health of the skin. Most commonly, it is applied as a paste mixed with water, or even honey, which is also great for skin care.
It can help to reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin, promote hydration and a smooth appearance, as well as reduce the signs and marks from pox, boils, and acne. It has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to remove blackheads, treat acne and clogged pores.
Blood Pressure & Circulation
Potassium is a vasodilator, which helps to reduce blood pressure and lower the strain on the cardiovascular system. It facilitates the uptake of nutrients from food, making digestion an efficient and speedy process.
The calcium found in nutmeg can boost the health of your bones by contributing to repair and growth while relieving symptoms of osteoporosis. Finally, the iron content can boost your red blood cell count and reduce your chances of developing symptoms of iron deficiency, also known as anemia.
Excessively consuming it can have psychotropic, hallucinatory effects. Unfortunately, consuming a huge amount of nutmeg can complicate your bodily processes, as it is a potent spice meant to be used in small quantities. Consuming too much of it can result in seizures, irregular heart palpitations, and vomiting.