Nutmeg and Mace

In the Thai language of Thailand this is called jathikkai, and in Kerala, India, it is known by the same name. But in other parts of India, it is known as jaiphal and in French it is noix muscade. Nutmeg is an evergreen tree, native to the Moluccas. The tree produces two spices – the nutmeg and mace. As a spice, nutmeg is not a nut, but the seed kernel inside the fruit. Mace is the lacy covering on the kernel. Both are fragrant and used for culinary uses – for sweet, spicy dishes like pies, puddings, custards, cookies and spice cakes. It is also used in soups and it complements egg dishes and vegetables like cabbage, spinach, broccoli, beans onions etc. Nutmeg is a flavoring agent in all these cases. It is also used traditionally to reduce flatulence, to improve appetite and to treat diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. The fragrance and flavor of the nutmeg is from its oil of myristica, which contains a mildly poisonous narcotic called myristicin. But in culinary usages these poisonous or narcotic effects are not felt. In Indian cuisine, nutmeg powder is used in sweet dishes. In the Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg powder is used for making dishes pleasant. In European cuisine, it is used in potato dishes and also in soups, sauces and baked goods. It goes into perfumery and pharmaceutical industries too. it is used in the making of toothpaste and as a ingredient in cough syrups. World demand of Nutmeg is estimated at 9,000 tons a year, but the production is more. Indonesia and Grenada are in the forefront of its production and export. Other countries producing this spice are India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, and the Caribbean islands. Import markets are the countries in the European community, and the US, Japan, and India.