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Nutmeg Culinary and Health Benefits

Nutmeg moves to the front of the spice rack and into many of our beverages and desserts during the holiday season. Despite the name, it is not a true nut but rather the seed of an evergreen tree native to the Spice Islands of Indonesia.

Nutmeg has long been valued for its medicinal as well as culinary benefits. Roman and Greek civilization believed it was a brain tonic and Chinese medicine used it to relieve inflammation and abdominal pain.

But don’t overdo as consuming 2 tablespoons or more of nutmeg can cause nausea, dizziness, slowdown brain function and more.

The active ingredient is the nutmeg’s essential oil, Myristica, helping protect the plant from insect pests.

Mace, the spice not the self-defense spray, is the red covering over the oval brown nutmeg seed. It is often used like nutmeg or in savory dishes like curry.

A bit more information:  Mace has a similar flavor that has a more pungent taste and smell. Both nutmeg and mace are often combined with allspice, ginger, cinnamon and cloves.

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