Spice of the Month: Nutmeg

By , Dana Angelo White, Food Network’s Healthy Eats
It just wouldn't be the holidays without this warm and nutty spice. Impress friends and family at the dinner table with some trivia. Did you know nutmeg is actually the seed of a type of tree?

Nutmeg Basics

Cut open the fruit of a tropical variety of evergreen tree and you’ll find this inch-sized brown seed. It doesn’t look like much but this little baby packs in warm and earthy flavor when it’s freshly grated. Ground nutmeg is also widely available, but isn’t as potent.
Native to Indonesia, the Caribbean and part of India, the outer covering of nutmeg is cultivated as an entirely different spice known as mace.

Nutrition Info

One tablespoon of nutmeg has just shy of 40 calories, 1 gram of fiber and B-vitamins like thiamin, B6 and folate. You’ll also find minerals like copper, iron and potassium.

What to do with Nutmeg

Use nutmeg to add a spicy, sweet kick to baked goods. Banana, pumpkin, apple and carrot get along famously with this sassy spice. Sweet foods love nutmeg but so do creamy dishes like fettuccine Alfredo, mac and cheese and creamed spinach. You’ll find it in lots of holiday recipes; everything from pumpkin pie to green bean casserole.

Shopping and Storage Tips

Store seeds or ground powder in a cool dry place. Refresh supply every 6 months to ensure the best flavor.

Click here for recipes with nutmeg from Food Network.

More from Food Network:Do you like to cook with nutmeg? What is your favorite recipe?

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I grew up with nutmeg in French toast instead of cinnamon, and still prefer it that way. Nutmeg in blueberry pie is very tasty, and my Nonna always put nutmeg in ricotta when making ravioli or lasagna. I always use the freshly grated, so much more flavor! Report
We love a little nutmeg in homemade rhubarb sauce! Yum! Report
I live in Saudi where nutmeg is illegal. I had a friend smuggle some in. It tastes even better when its contraband.... Report
I like nutmeg on green beans! Report
I love dumping it into my chai. Report
I love nutmeg.

I keep a little jar of the whole spice and grate when necessary. The smell is so wonderful. Great in mashed potatoes, and it goes in basically every custard or similar egg dish (thanks, Alton Brown! ... more of a French thing, I guess). I've not used it much in regular savory or meat dishes, but eggnog? Hot toddies? Yes, please. Report
We like Nutmeg on baked custard, french toast, pumpkin pie/bars. apple pie/desserts and some like it on cottage cheese. Report
Our family has always used nutmeg in our French Toast recipe. Report
I work in a 1770s house and we grate our own nutmeg every day. It is SO wonderful to smell!! Report
Nutmeg and ginger were 2 spices that played a key role in earlier portion-controlled eating plans. The taste added zing to plain and low-sugar varieties of yogourt. It helped me to appreciate other "hot" spices. Report
Nutmeg in EggNog and Pumpkin pie! I've not tried in Oatmeal - def going to try! Report
Peel, boil and mash rutabagas. Add butter and nutmeg and mix well. Serve Report
I like nutmeg in sweet dishes - pumpkin pie, apple crisp, etc., but just don't care for it in savory dishes. I tried making a quiche with a pinch of nutmeg in it, and disliked the taste. Report
Great Info !! Report
Spice of the Month is a great idea. I'll be cooking with Nutmeg today! Report
Nutmeg is also used widely in European cooking with meat dishes and potatoes. Try some with your mashed potatoes or scalloped potatoes - completely different experience! Report
Mmmmmm, fresh nutmeg! Report
Love nutmeg in lots of things, but my favorite is Scottish Mince, which is a minced (ground) beef dish, ususally served with tatties (mashed potatoes). I little nutmeg in the ground or minced beef gives it just an extra oomph. I always get compliments when I serve this easy, inexpensive dinner. Report
I had thought there was some connection between nutmeg and mace or some other spice - that they were different parts of the same seed. Report
I use it in my sweet potato pie and "spiked" egg nog...Delicious! Report
One of my favorite spices and I use it in Sweet Potato Pie, the only spice in fact. A good recipe my maternal Grandmother passed down. I like it in my oatmeal as well. Thanks for this useful information. I didn't know it came from a tree. Report
Cool, I didn't know it paired well with carrots or spinach! :)

I use it often in my oatmeal. Report
It's one of my favorites, next to cinnamon. Even when not cooking, it's super in hot cocoa, oatmeal, on yogurt with fruit, stirred into warm milk--I grate nutmeg nearly daily. Report
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