Sweet and strong, nutmeg has spiced up foods for hundreds of years. Native to the Moluccas (the Spice Islands), nutmeg is produced from the fruit of a large evergreen tree. The same fruit also produces mace.
With its nutty, slightly sweet flavor, nutmeg enhances such dishes as pies, puddings, muffins, custards, cookies, sweet breads and cakes.
It also perks up soups, egg dishes, meats, vegetables (particularly root vegetables), sausage and punches. And no cup of eggnog is complete without a sprinkling of this spice.
Nutmeg is sold ground or whole. Whole nuts will keep indefinitely and can be grated with a nutmeg grater or mill. Because it is high in oil, nutmeg retains its flavor well, even when it is ground. Store both ground and whole varieties in a cool dark place.
Sweeten your next meal with one of these tasty nutmeg-tinged delights (shown above).
"This delicious fruit-and nut-packed Vanilla-Glazed Apple Cookie recipe was my mother's, and it has been one of my mother's and one of my favorites for many years," offers Sharon Crider from St. Robert, Missouri.
A brown-sugar crust makes this nicely spiced Toffee-Pecan Nutmeg Cake a little different. It's especially good served with a scoop of ice cream. "This is our family's most-asked-for dessert," relates Roberta Ashcroft of Twin Falls, Idaho.
Perfect for a gift or to keep on hand when friends stop by, this versatile Spiced Tea Mix can be served hot or cold. "This was my grandma's favorite tea mixture," says Julie Dvornicky of Broadview Heights, Ohio. "The blend of ingredients makes it one of a kind!"