Nutmeg is grown on a tropical evergreen tree or nutmeg tree. When it has ripened it will fall to the ground and the red covering can be removed and sold as mace. It is the seed of the Myristica fragrans that is actually the nutmeg. The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7-9 years after planting, and the trees reach their full potential after 20 years. This spice is available year-round
The freshness of nutmeg can be maintained longer if stored in an airtight container. Keep away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. These elements hasten the loss of flavor and aroma. Avoid storing over the stove, dishwasher, sink or near a window. It should not be stored in the freezer. Freezing does not extend the shelf life of regularly used dried spices. If stored in the freezer, and repeatedly removed for use, condensation will form in the container and accelerate loss of flavor and aroma.
Nutmeg can be used well with: broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, cheese, custards, eggs, fruits, lamb, pasta, potatoes, pumpkin, raisins, ricotta cheese, rice, sausages, spinach, squash, stuffing, and veal. Check out the recipes for Breakfast Bread Pudding, Lentil Soup, Pizzazz Pumpkin Soup, and Mashed Sweet Potatoes in Flavorful Fortified Food – Recipes to Enrich Life that all include nutmeg.