Nutmeg comes from a very unique tree that actually produces two spices – nutmeg and mace. This evergreen tree is native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia, often appropriately called the Spice Islands. In this country, Ground Nutmeg is a classic baking spice and adds intense and spicy aroma to pastries, cakes, sweet rolls, banana bread, pumpkin pies, apple pies, ice cream, chocolate, lemon desserts cookies, coconut milk, fruit pies, muffins and sweet breads. Use as a topping for custard, eggnog and whipped cream. In addition to its uses in sweet dishes, nutmeg also works well in savory dishes and is considered by many chefs to be a secret ingredient in eggs, stew, creamy soups (especially split pea and tomato soups), sauces, seafood chowders, lamb, meatballs, milk dishes and with sweet potatoes. My personal favorite is to sprinkle a touch of nutmeg on top before cooking my quiche.
Widely used in spices blends from France, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Some of the more popular blends are garam masala, baharat, Tunsian five spice (also called qalat daqqa), ras el hanout, quatre epices, various Indian and Indonesian curry blends and jerk seasoning.
Nutmeg has a piney, sharp aroma and the flavor is spicy and bittersweet with hints of clove.
Nutmeg should be added toward the end of the cooking process. Ground nutmeg will lose flavor more quickly than other ground spices so be sure to replace more often.
2 to 3 teaspoons of ground nutmeg is equal to one whole nutmeg.