Nutmeg

Nutmeg is an aril of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragans), so it is the same to say that it is the shell of the seed. To remove the mace, the fruit is allowed to dry for a few months and then peel the outer shell and the mace is removed, which will then be allowed to dry so that it can be pressed with a form of plate or plate, the product obtained has a scarlet color . It is called, improperly, as “flower of moscada”, in some moments it has gotten to be more appreciated than the nutmeg itself.

Mace is not as well known and appreciated at times as nutmeg, however this should change as it offers similar qualities as walnut in culinary preparations. The main differences between nutmeg and mace from the result of their incorporation in different dishes, is that nutmeg is slightly sweeter and more powerful in aromas and mace is more refined but somewhat more bitter. It gives a flavor reminiscent of the mixture of cinnamon and pepper.

The fruits of myrrh (Myristica fragans), a tree grown in Indonesia , India and the Caribbean , are a kind of apricot that explode when ripe and reveal the stone inside. It is shaped like a walnut (it is nutmeg) and is covered with a woody and fragrant intensely orange net, that is, mace. So this is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices.

Origin

The nutmeg that is the most common spice than the mace or the ring that surrounds it.

Nutmeg is an aromatic fruit of the myristic, a tree from the tropical regions of Asia and America , of the myrististic family, of which there are numerous species (more than 400, but only 80 are cultivated for the production of the nut nutmeg). The best known is that of the Sonda islands.

Nutmeg has an ovoid shape, the size of a brown, wrinkled almond. It has a very spicy flavor and aroma and has to be hard and heavy.

Apparently it probably comes from the islands Malucas (Island of Spices) and Indonesia . Its color betrays its origin: the intense colors (red, brown, orange) come from Indonesia, the palest (orange-yellow, beige), from Granada , in the West Indies .

History

Apparently this is the tree from which Pliny said that two spices could be extracted at the same time. The Arabs are also known to have brought these spices to Constantinople in the 6th century , having previously imported them from India. On the other hand, it has been isolated as one of the components used in the embalming of mummies in ancient Egypt .

It tastes somewhat sweeter and finer than mace, and is known to have been used as a prized and expensive spice during the Middle Ages . Saint Theodore was famous for allowing his monks to sprinkle nutmeg on his pea pudding.

In Elizabethan times this spice was so popular that it was believed to avoid the plague. The Arabs traded with her during the Middle Ages in the prosperous markets of the Indian Ocean. At the end of the 15th century , Portugal took over this trade, including nutmeg, due to the Treaty of Tordesillas with Spain and a separate treaty with the Sultan of Ternate. In the 17th century , this trade was monopolized by the Dutch, so much so that today its widespread use can be found only in Dutch cuisine.

Applications

The fresh mace has a red color.

The gastronomies that most use mace are the cuisine of India and China , both in sweet and savory dishes. In Europe it is common to see it in mashed potatoes and in Italian cuisine in various pasta and meat dishes. It is also an ingredient used in medieval cuisine as a spice for sugar or honey (for example, honey pineapple).

The nutmeg is used grated, with the help of a special small grater and very sharp. However, it can be cut or scraped with a knife and pounded in the mortar when in use. Today we find nutmeg powder. A dark brown powder obtained by grating the outer bark of this tree’s walnut.

Mace is widely used in Indian and Chinese cuisine, both in the direct preparation of dishes and as part of a mixture of spices. It is ideal for countless dishes, casseroles, mashed potatoes, pasta, salty or sweet creams, sauces, etc. It is preferably used in salty dishes and is also part of curry mixes. It is also used in pickles and to season canned meats, soups and sausages. It also substitutes nutmeg for tortillas, béchameles or mashed potatoes because it combines perfectly with cloves and cinnamon. Although it is also used in an infinity of cocktails and punch.

Nutmeg is considered to be a citrus-flavored spice, highly aromatic, spicy and sweet. For this reason, it should be used in moderation so that its taste and itchiness are not too noticeable in the dishes where it is used, so it is exchanged for the softer mace. Nutmeg is used to enhance all kinds of preparations. In India it is mainly used for sweet dishes and for making garam massala. In the Middle East it is used to flavor most dishes and in Japan it is part of curry sauce.

Both mace and nutmeg should always be used in homeopathic doses. Be careful then with the amounts of this spice, because in addition to being very invasive, all its essential parts contain strong doses of myristicin, a dangerous narcotic.

Nutrition

For 100 gr. mace powder:

  • Calories: 475, – KCal.
  • Proteins: 6.7 gr.
  • Monoin fat: 11.2 g
  • Polyunsaturated fats: 4.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 Mg.
  • Calcium: 262.3 Mg.
  • Sats fats: 9.5 gr.
  • Magnesium: 163, – Mg.
  • Phosphorus: 110, – Mg.
  • Potassium: 462.8 Mg.
  • Sodium: 80.1 Mg.
  • Vitamin A: 800 IU
  • Vitamin C: 21, – Mg.
  • Vitamin E: 2.5 Mg.

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