This week’s spice, nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), is one you may have had a lot this past month in your eggnog and pies. Interestingly, the spice called mace comes from the same tree as nutmeg, but rather than the seed it is from the reddish weblike covering of the seed. Mace is similar to nutmeg in flavour, but milder and sweeter so I recommend using it if you find nutmeg too strong.
Why is Nutmeg Good For Us?
Helpful trace minerals found in nutmeg include potassium, calcium, iron and manganese, and it also contains antioxidants, Vitamin C and some B vitamins. Nutmeg is safe to use in culinary amounts, and can be used in higher amounts medicinally – just make sure to work with a health professional (like a herbalist) as it can be toxic when used in high doses.
As with most kitchen spices, nutmeg is a carminative that helps digestion, and can help reduce gas, bloating and diarrhea. It is also anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, so try adding it to your toothpaste to help freshen breath or soothe mouth sores.
Nutmeg can help with anxiety. Put some in warm milk to help you relax and fall asleep!
Another ingredient in nutmeg is called myristicin. It is thought to stimulate our brains and may help with memory. Some sources consider this spice to be an aphrodisiac as well!
Nutmeg loses its flavour quickly when ground, so for really fresh flavour I recommend buying the seeds and grating as needed. It can be added to most hot drinks, including coffee, lattes, and apple cider. If you are making hot cocoa, try adding these to get the healthy benefits and warming of the spiciness:
Nutmeg powder – ¼ tsp
Cinnamon powder – ¼ tsp
Clove powder – ¼ tsp
Sea salt – ¼ tsp
Cooking with Nutmeg
Nutmeg pairs well with squash. Try this butternut squash soup!
Here’s What You’ll Need:
1½ c. butternut squash
2 c. fat-free vegetable broth
1 medium onion
Here’s How to Make It:
1. Put butternut squash, broth, and onion into a large soup pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove lid and reduce heat; simmer until squash is tender.
2. Purée with a blender and season with salt, black pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Serve.