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Botanical: Myristica fragrans

Family: N.O. Myristicaceae

Hindi Name: Nutmeg Jaiphal

General Description: Nutmeg, spice consisting of the seed of the Myristica fragrans, a tropical, dioecious evergreen tree native to the Moluccas or Spice Islands of Indonesia. 

Geographical Sources

The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans, is indigenous to the Moluccas in Indonesia but has been successfully grown in other Asian countries and in the Caribbean, namely Grenada. Banda Islands, Malayan Archipelago, Molucca Islands, and cultivated in Sumatra, French Guiana 

Composition -> Nutmeg and mace contain 7 to 14 percent essential oil, the principal components of which are pinene, camphene, and dipentene. Nutmeg on expression yields about 24 to 30 percent fixed oil called nutmeg butter, or oil of mace. Dried kernel of the seed.



Varieties -> Whole nutmegs are grouped under three broad quality classifications:

1.         Sound: nutmegs which are mainly used for grinding and to a lesser extent for oleoresin extraction. High quality or sound whole nutmegs are traded in grades which refer to their size in numbers of nutmegs per pound: 80s, 110s and 130s (110 to 287 nuts per kg), or 'ABCD' which is an assortment of various sizes.

2.         Substandard: nutmegs which are used for grinding, oleoresin extraction and essential oil distillation. Substandard nutmegs are traded as 'sound, shrivelled' which in general have a higher volatile oil content than mature sound nutmegs and are used for grinding, oleoresin extraction and oil distillation; and 'BWP' (broken, wormy and punky) which are mainly used for grinding as volatile oil content generally does not exceed 8%.

3.         Distilling: poor quality nutmegs used for essential oil distillation.Distilling grades of nutmegs are of poorer quality: 'BIA' or 'ETEZ' with a volatile oil content of 8% to 10%; and 'BSL' or 'AZWI' which has less shell material and a volatile oil content of 12% to 13%.

Method of Processing -> When fully mature it splits in two, exposing a crimson-coloured aril, the mace, surrounding a single shiny, brown seed, the nutmeg. The pulp of the fruit may be eaten locally. After collection, the aril-enveloped nutmegs are conveyed to curing areas where the mace is removed, flattened out, and dried. The nutmegs are dried gradually in the sun and turned twice daily over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden truncheon and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish-brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. Large ones may be about 1.2 inches long and 0.8 inch in diameter. 

Traditional Ethnic Uses

it is used to flavour many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog. The spices in their ground form are mainly used in the food processing industry, principally in the seasoning of meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, baked goods and spice mixes Both spices have similar taste qualities; mace is more popular because of its light orange colour in light coloured foods. Nutmeg, in general, tends to be sweeter and more delicate. These products are also used in the perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.

Taste and Aroma: Nutmeg has a characteristic, pleasant fragrance and slightly warm taste

Adulteration -> Insects that attack nutmegs only extract the fat oil. They do not interfere in any way with the essential oil.

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