Crazy Useful Thing of the Day: Nutmeg

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Botanical drawing of nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a species of evergreen tree in the nutmeg (Myristicaceae) family, native to the Moluccas (formerly known as the Spice Islands) of Indonesia, but now widely cultivated throughout the tropical regions.  It is the best-known member of the Myristica genus, as it is the primary source of the spices nutmeg and mace.  Nutmeg is made from the seed, whereas mace is made from the bright red seed coat (the aril).  Both are dried and ground into powder to make the spice. The fruit (the pericarp of the seed) is edible. An essential oil steam-distilled from the seed is used in perfumery.  Nutmeg butter, produced by cold-pressing the seed, is used as a substitute for cocoa butter.

Featured image: Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), the source of the spices nutmeg and mace. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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