and mace are
two spices derived from the same plant, the nutmeg tree (Myristica
fragrans) The nutmeg tree is indigenous to the Banda Islands of
Indonesia but is also grown in the Caribbean (Grenada). Several
commercial products are produced from the nutmeg tree, nutmeg and mace
being the best known.
Both spices have similar taste qualities; mace is more popular because
of its light orange colour in light coloured foods. Nutmeg, in general,
tends to be sweeter and more delicate.
Nutmeg is the actual seed of the tree, roughly
egg-shaped and about an inch long, while mace is the dried "lacy",
reddish covering of the seed.
The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7-9 years after planting
and the trees reach their full potential after 20 years.
is extremely toxic when injected intravenously. Excessive consumption
of the spice is also dangerous and can lead to death. Nutmeg can also
cause hallucinations when taken in excess, along with nausea,
dehydration, and generalised body pain.
|Did You Know?
|At one time, nutmeg was
one of the most valuable spices. It has been said that in England,
several hundred years ago, a few nutmeg nuts could be sold for enough
money to enable financial independence for life.
Nutmeg has in the past been used as an abortifacient. An
abortifacient is a substance that induces miscarriage or abortion. The
use of various herbs as abortifacients is a practice that predates
history. Since humans of all cultures began using herbs as medicine,
they have observed which herbs could lead to miscarriage and either
shunned or embraced them as needs dictated. As the Catholic Church
gained control of European society, woman who dispensed abortifacient
herbs found themselves classified as witches and prosecuted.
A possible, future use for nutmeg is as a natural control for insects
that infest stored cereal grains.