The nutmeg tree is any of several species of trees in genus Myristica. The most important commercial species is Myristica fragrans, an evergreen tree indigenous to the Banda Islands in the Moluccas of Indonesia, or Spice Islands. The nutmeg tree is important for two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly egg-shaped and about 0.8 to 1 inch long and 0.6 to 0.7 inch wide, and weighing between 0.2 and 0.4 oz dried. Nutmeg and mace have similar sensory qualities, with nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavor.
It natural to pull nutmeg out of the spice cabinet during the holidays. It is featured in many baked goods and is a great partner for pumpkin, sweet potatoes, ham, warm wassail, and bread puddings. Don’t forget about nutmeg the other months of the year. A dash in your favorite dishes can be your secret weapon for sensational flavor.