Monday, January 9, 2012

Try Grating Your Nutmeg

Nutmeg is one of my favorite spices.  I like it on coffee, pie, cider, egg nog, and various cake desserts, but also like to venture out and use it on vegetables and in soups and chili too.

I used to buy all of my spices pre-ground.  I worked my way up from dollar store spices to store brands to ultimately McCormick brand  -- each step of the way getting a better taste.

Thanks to celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver, I have discovered the pleasure of intense fresh flavors coming from freshly ground or grated spices.

Not long ago,  I didn't know anything about a nutmeg.  So I searched and discovered it is the seed of a fruit that grows on trees usually found on tropical islands  The trees need to mature at least seven years to begin producing nutmeg and twenty years to reach full production.

The seed of the nutmeg tree is slightly larger than an acorn.  There are many places to find whole nutmeg.  I purchased mine at World Market and use a microplane grater to shave the nutmeg I need for my recipes.  I store the remaining whole spice in a small acrylic airtight container.

The scent from freshly grated nutmeg is amazing with a flavor that matches the intensity.  It's really the way it should be enjoyed.

Next time you are buying spices, look to buy whole spices and start grating.  You will never go back.  

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