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Whole Nutmeg Uses

Slofoodgroup Team November 26, 2022

Nutmeg has a rather mysterious nature, starting with its common name. While it does come from a tree, it is not a nut at all. It is the seed of a fruit, which in it’s whole form is similar to the composition of other aril-containg organisms, such as lychee or pomegranates. 

The common name may be deceiving, but the scientific nomenclature seems very fitting—Myristica fragrans. The genus, Myristica refers to a tropical evergreen, but at quick glance, one might believe it to read “mystery” and “fragrans” also seems very fitting, due to the potent aroma this particular seed possesses.

The name isn’t the only aspect of this warming spice shrouded in mystery, though. Aside from holiday baking projects, few people have a firm grasp of the potential of nutmeg. So let’s move beyond the eggnog and pumpkin bread and discover the many varied uses for this phenomenal spice. 

Culinary Uses for Whole Nutmeg

In the United States, nutmeg is primarily celebrated in the Autumn and especially around the holidays. In fact, it is rare to come across a holiday baked good that doesn’t call for a sprinkle or two of nutmeg. Globally, the uses of nutmeg expand far beyond sweet, baked goods or sugary beverages. This evergreen seed actually boasts a long list of savory uses as well. Here are some ideas for you to try: 

Always Add a Pinch of Fresh Nutmeg to Béchamel 

Béchamel  is a simple white sauce that becomes the base of many other sauces. In its most basic form, it is milk, butter, and flour. Many cooks wouldn’t dream of making it without nutmeg, however. While nutmeg is known for being a “warming” spice, when stirred into a heavy cream sauce, it transitions into a brightening role. 

Grate Nutmeg Over Eggs Benedict

Hollandaise sauce is typically made with little more than lemon juice, egg yolks, and butter. Considering the fact that nutmeg is known to be a fantastic choice for both enhancing cream sauces and balancing citrus flavors, it makes perfect sense that it would be a welcome addition to a dish topped with hollandaise sauce. Feel free to add it directly to the hollandaise or, for an aesthetically pleasing touch, grate it overtop. 

Add Fresh Nutmeg To Your Next Hot Toddy

Next time you find yourself to be “under the weather” and you self-prescribe a hot toddy, we highly recommend you add a bit of fresh nutmeg. Most toddy’s begin with the a liquor like bourbon or brandy, citrus, cinnamon, and a sweetener like honey. Together, these ingredients work to warm the soul and clear the head. Nutmeg takes it to the next level, naturally killing bacteria and aiding in decongesting the sinuses. Either slice thin pieces of your nutmeg and drop them into the beverage or fresh-grate it into the glass and pour the hot liquid directly overtop. 

These are just a few of our favorite ways to use whole nutmeg. Take a look at some of our other nutmeg articles and recipes for more ideas on how to use your nutmeg:

Is Nutmeg a Hallucinogen?

Can You Get Mace From Whole Nutmeg?

Holiday Seasoning Guide: Nutmeg, Vanilla, & Cinnamon

See all of our nutmeg posts.