They say to leave the best for the last. If that is the case, then nutmeg is precisely the spice to wind down my spice series which began with Cinnamon. Nutmeg or Jaayaphal in Hindi, has rescued many a recipe with its extraordinary chameleon quality.
Jaayaphal: Exploring the Versatility
I call nutmeg a chameleon because it bends flavour based on how you use it. When mixed with roasted dried fruits, it gives a slow dancing melody. When combined with lemon zest, it provides a bracing punch. Every time I feel a recipe is uninspired, I add freshly grated nutmeg, and it goes from zero to 60 in two seconds flat.
Nutmeg is a light brown seed found in the fruit of the evergreen plant, Myristica fragrans. After planting, it takes almost seven years for the tree to fruit. But once it does, it can keep producing the spice for nearly ninety years!
An interesting fact about nutmeg is that it can get you high. The spice has Myristicin, an essential oil with marijuana-like impact. Consume more than a few teaspoons in one go, and first, you’ll be flying like a kite and then sick with all kinds of bodily agonies!
Why Use Nutmeg: The Health Benefits of the Spice
The versatility of nutmeg is not limited to the boundaries of cuisine. When it comes to health, the spice copiously sprinkled on hot beverages is a magician. From curing bad breath to fever, the Vedas say nutmeg can do it all.
Technically, nutmeg is a sedative and aromatic. When you whittle down the mumbo-jumbo, it means the spice can calm nerves and improve digestion. For instance, a paste of nutmeg applied on the forehead can cure minor headaches!
Another lovely benefit of nutmeg is its astringency. What do astringent foods do? They help scrape off fat and drive weight loss.
Nutmeg: A Quick How-To
Nutmeg has a singular depth of flavor. Right when you think you’ve got all its tangs down pat, a new one will jump out to surprise you. It’s a no-brainer for cocktails, but the spice branches out in so many other directions.
If you want the rich, fragrant and intoxicating aroma of nutmeg, then try hot cross buns.
To find out how nutmeg harmonizes like a melody with other ingredients, give this eggless Sweet Potato Gnocchi a whip. The play of the spice with starchy potatoes is magic.
As topping people love to sprinkle nutmeg on whipped cream, I prefer it on my gluten-free gingerbread pancakes for an extra touch.
They say food comes the full circle. At some point, you’ll start adoring (and baking) things your mom (or dad) loved. For me, this whole wheat carrot cake, chock full of nutmeg, is a real demonstration of it.
Tasha’s Inside Tip
Nutmeg has nuances that exhibit extraordinary character if it is freshly ground. The pre-packaged stuff stored for more than a month leaves a sawdust-like taste. So, to enjoy the sweet yet bitter tang of it, grate nutmeg while cooking. Also, a little is all you need. Think 1/8 teaspoon for a dish that serves 4.
I hope you are enjoying my #spiceseries blogs.
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