Steenbergs Organic Nutmeg is one of the classic spices of any storecupboard. There is something deeply satisfying about grating organic nutmegs - 10 seconds of rubbing on a small-holed grater will yield ½ tsp of fresh, organic flavourful nutmeg which is perfect for stewed fruit or as a topping for cheese dishes from sauces to quiche. For those fed up with graters try our fantastic nut twisters - you'll want to use them again and again. Steenbergs organic nutmegsare grown in Indonesia or Sri Lanka.
Nutmeg spice comes from the nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans, which was originally native only to the Banda Islands in Indonesia. Nutmeg trees are a tropical evergreen tree that grow some 7-10 metres high (23-33ft), and have shiny green leaves that are dark on the upper side and pale-green beneath. Nutmeg trees are male or female and one male tree is needed per 10 female trees, so that the female trees can be fertilised and then bear fruit. Unwanted male trees are thinned out from the nutmeg plantation. Nutmeg trees become fully mature after 15 years and are fruitful for 40 years. When the fruit has developed, it looks like a yellow nectarine. When the fruit is ripe, the fruit is picked and the flesh cut off the shell, making sure the shiny, blood-red mace aril on the outside is not removed or damaged. My photos on my blog show this quite well. After the mace has been peeled from the nutmeg shell, the nutmeg nutcase is dried further; once it is dry, the nutmeg seed rattles within the smooth outer shell. We are sometimes offered these nutmeg nuts (i.e. nutmeg seed and outer shell) by spice traders or sometimes the nutmeg seed is called broken nutmeg, i.e. the shell has been broken and removed. The nut is the spice we all know as nutmeg; it is a dull brown, wrinkled and hard. Nutmeg on its own has a mild warm flavour, but the best is to grind the nutmeg as you need it, which releases its volatile oils from the oil-containing veins within the nut (you can see these developing as you grind them through a symmetrical light and dark-brown pattern through the seed lengthways). Nutmeg's aroma is warm, aromatic and gently pleasing, while its flavour is also warming but has some sweetness.