Nutmeg is one of the two spices derived from several species of tree in the genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas (or Spice Islands) of Indonesia.
Nutmeg is the seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 20 to 30 mm (0.8 to 1.2 in) long and 15 to 18 mm (0.6 to 0.7 in) wide, and weighing between 5 and 10 g (0.2 and 0.4 oz) dried, while mace is the dried “lacy” reddish covering or aril of the seed. The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7–9 years after planting, and the trees reach full production after twenty years. Nutmeg is usually used in powdered form. This is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices. Several other commercial products are also produced from the trees, including essential oils, extracted oleoresins, and nutmeg butter.
|Twice annually - March and September
|How is it harvested:
|Only the female nutmeg tree bears fruit. First harvest is after 7-9 years with full maturity after 20 years. Picked by hand the fruit is split to reveal the nutmeg which is surrounded by a red lace known as mace. The mace is removed and used separately as a spice in cooking. Nutmeg usually comes in powdered form and is extremely difficult to mill because of a high oil content.
|Food trade, perfumery