Nutmeg as food

(Myristica fragans)

How are nutmeg and mace obtained?

There are over 400 species of the genus Myristica. Of all these, about 80 are cultivated for the production of nutmeg as they have similar properties.

The species Myristica fragrans provides higher quality, superior aroma and taste, making it the most widely used in cooking and as a medicinal plant.

Nutmeg is a dark brown powder obtained by grating the nutmeg kernel.

Other spice produced by the same plant is mace, that is obtained by converting to powder the dry aryl or lining around the nut.

Mace, that has a reddish color, has more aroma and less spicy flavor. Its use as a spice is more appreciated than nutmeg.

Nuez moscada

Photography of nutmeg freshly picked from the tree

Food properties of nutmeg

Photography of mace in market

Photography of mace in market

The use of nutmeg as a spice is very old. The Romans used it extensively in his kitchen.

Today, it is part of European cuisines (Italian, Greek and French), European central kitchens (Germany and the Netherlands) and Scandinavian cuisines. Also very common in the cuisines of the Middle East, India, and the Caribbean.

In India it mainly appears in sweet dishes and to Garam Massala, a mixture made with this spice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom seeds.

In the Middle East many dishes are flavoured with it most and in Japan it takes part of the curry sauce.

What flavor nutmeg and mace have?

- Nutmeg is a spice with citrus flavor, very aromatic, spicy and sweet. Therefore, it should be used sparingly so as its taste and its itching not to be noticed too much.

- It is a perfect match with cinnamon and cloves.

- Nutmeg and mace, or powder obtained from red aril surrounding the nut, have a similar taste and smell, but nutmeg has a sweet taste while Mace has a milder flavor.

- Overall, Mace is preferred when you need to color the dishes because it stains them like saffron.

Nuez moscada

Photo of nutmeg in the market

Recipes with nutmeg

From nutmeg we make use of the dried berry to grate or the berry powder. We can also use the powder of the covering berry or mace. These ingredients can be added to both sweet (especially fruit tarts, chocolate, sweets, puddings and salads) and salted dishes (soups, salads, fish, stewed meat, legumes, vegetables, potatoes, rice, sauces.)

Worldwide known beverages where this species occurs are the following: Bechamel sauce, chicken casserole, sangria, grilled fish with nutmeg, rice oriental style Weißwurst, cream cake with nutmeg or donuts.

Among the most curious drinks where this spice may appear we have, for example:

- Eggnog: A drink that is made with beaten eggs, milk, sugar, wine and nutmeg.

- Hot wine with sugar and spices: It is a typical drink which originated in ancient times when spices were used to flavor a wine that had become stale. By doing this, spoilt wine could be drunk again. Today it is a traditional drink in many parts of the world, but it is especially drunk in northern Italy and the Scandinavian countries. In the latter it is known by the name of Glögg and people especially drinks it during Christmas.

- Warm cider or "Mulled cider": It is a beverage obtained from cider, which is heated until it reaches a high temperature without boiling. Some spices are later added like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and a few pieces of orange peel.

Nuez moscada y macis

Photography of a fruit of the transversely open nutmeg

Types of nutmeg

There are over 80 genus of Myristica trees grown for the production of nutmeg. Beside the world famous Myristica fragrans. We should mention the following:

- Papua Nutmeg (Myristica argentea) from New Guinea, it is characterized by the silver-white color, as a result of many abundant hairs on the underside of the leaves. It is most often used in the production of nutmeg after Myristica fragransspecies. In herbal medicine it is used primarily to remedy the headache.

- Bucumba: (Myristica bicuhyba, Virola bicuhyba): Very rich in essential oil with a very high content of myristicin. It comes from Brazil. Becuiba oil is extracted from it, with which a balm is prepared, used to rub on the body areas affected by rheumatism . It has been mentioned that this preparation could have anticancer properties.

- False nutmeg (Myristica fatua): Located in the Philippines and the Moluccas. Used for headaches and as an aphrodisiac.

- Myristica iners: It appears in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. It is used primarily as a diuretic.

- Bombay Nutmeg (Myristica malabarica) It is, together with Papua nutmeg, the other main plant in alternative production of authentic nutmeg. Often these two species are used to adulterate it. In herbal medicine it has been used as a potent antioxidant and to relieve pain in rheumatic attacks.


The following table shows a list of the main species of the genus Myristica:

Myristica acsmithii
Myristica acuminata
Myristica affinis
Myristica agusanensis
Myristica alba
Myristica albertisii
Myristica amboinensis
Myristica americana
Myristica ampliata
Myristica amplifolia
Myristica amygdalina
Myristica anceps
Myristica andamanica
Myristica angolensis
Myristica angustifolia
Myristica apiculata
Myristica archboldiana
Myristica ardisiaefolia
Myristica ardisiifolia
Myristica arfakensis
Myristica argentea
Myristica aromatica
Myristica artocorticata
Myristica aruana
Myristica aruensis
Myristica atrans
Myristica atrescens
Myristica atresens
Myristica atrocorticata
Myristica attenuata
Myristica avis-paradisiacae
Myristica baeuerlenii
Myristica bancana
Myristica basilanica
Myristica batjanica
Myristica beccarii
Myristica beddomei
Myristica bialata
Myristica bicuhyba
Myristica bivalvis
Myristica bombycina
Myristica borneensis
Myristica brachiata
Myristica brachypoda
Myristica bracteata
Myristica brassii
Myristica brevistipes
Myristica buchneriana
Myristica byssacea
Myristica caesia
Myristica cagayanensis
Myristica calocarpa
Myristica calophylla
Myristica canarica
Myristica canariformis
Myristica canarioides
Myristica cantleyi
Myristica capitellata
Myristica carinata
Myristica carnosa
Myristica carrii
Myristica castanaefolia
Myristica castaneaefolia
Myristica catahoulensis
Myristica celebica
Myristica cerifera
Myristica ceylanica
Myristica chalmersii
Myristica chapelieri
Myristica chartacea
Myristica chartaceae
Myristica chrysophylla
Myristica cimicifera
Myristica cinerea
Myristica cinnamomea
Myristica clarkeana
Myristica clemensii
Myristica clemesii
Myristica coacta
Myristica colinridsdalei
Myristica collettiana
Myristica commersonii
Myristica concinna
Myristica conferta
Myristica conspersa
Myristica contorta
Myristica contracta
Myristica cookii
Myristica cordifolia
Myristica coriacea
Myristica cornutiflora
Myristica corticata
Myristica corticosa
Myristica costata
Myristica costulata
Myristica crassa
Myristica crassifolia
Myristica crassinervis
Myristica crassipes
Myristica crassithyrsa
Myristica cucullata
Myristica cumaru
Myristica cumingii
Myristica curtisii
Myristica cuspidata
Myristica cyliindrocarpa
Myristica cylindrocarpa
Myristica dactyloides
Myristica dardaini
Myristica dasycarpa
Myristica debilis
Myristica depressa
Myristica devogelii
Myristica diospyrifolia
Myristica discolor
Myristica diversifolia
Myristica dongnaiensis
Myristica duplopunctata
Myristica duthiei
Myristica elegans
Myristica elliptica
Myristica elongata
Myristica ensifolia
Myristica erratica
Myristica eugeniaefolia
Myristica euryocarpa
Myristica exaltata
Myristica extensa
Myristica fallax
Myristica faroensis
Myristica farquhariana
Myristica fasciculata
Myristica fatua
Myristica ferruginea
Myristica filipes
Myristica finlaysoniana
Myristica fiosculosa
Myristica firmipes
Myristica fissiflora
Myristica fissurata
Myristica flavovirens
Myristica flocculosa
Myristica floribunda
Myristica flosculosa
Myristica forbesii
Myristica fossilis
Myristica fragans
Myristica frugifera
Myristica fugax
Myristica fugax fugax
Myristica fulva
Myristica furfuracea
Myristica furfurascerts
Myristica fusca
Myristica fusiformis
Myristica gamblei
Myristica garcinifolia
Myristica garciniifolia
Myristica gardneri
Myristica geminata
Myristica gibbosa
Myristica gigantea
Myristica gillespieana

Myristica glabra
Myristica glauca
Myristica glaucescens
Myristica globosa
Myristica globularia
Myristica glomerata
Myristica gordoniaefolia
Myristica gracilipes
Myristica gracilis
Myristica grandifolia
Myristica grandis
Myristica griffithii
Myristica guadalcanalensis
Myristica guatemalensis
Myristica guatteriaefolia
Myristica guatteriifolia
Myristica guattheriifolia
Myristica guillauminiana
Myristica hackenbergii
Myristica hellwigii
Myristica heritieraefolia
Myristica heritierifolia
Myristica heterophylla
Myristica heyneana
Myristica hollrungii
Myristica hooglandii
Myristica hookeriana
Myristica horsfieldia
Myristica horsfieldii
Myristica hostmanni
Myristica hypargyraea
Myristica hypoleuca
Myristica hyposticta
Myristica impressa
Myristica impressinervia
Myristica inaequalis
Myristica inaequlis
Myristica incredibilis
Myristica incredulis
Myristica iners
Myristica ingens
Myristica ingrata
Myristica inopinata
Myristica inopinnata
Myristica insipida
Myristica inspida
Myristica insularis
Myristica integra
Myristica integrifolia
Myristica intermedia
Myristica inundata
Myristica inutilis
Myristica iriagdehi
Myristica irya
Myristica iryaghedhi
Myristica iteophylla
Myristica javanica
Myristica kajewskii
Myristica kalkmanii
Myristica kingii
Myristica kjellbergii
Myristica knema
Myristica kombo
Myristica koordersii
Myristica korlhalsii
Myristica kunstleri
Myristica kurzii
Myristica labillardieri
Myristica laevifolia
Myristica laevigata
Myristica laevis
Myristica laevis badia
Myristica laevis laevis
Myristica lakilaki
Myristica lanceolata
Myristica lancifolia
Myristica lasiocarpa
Myristica latifolia
Myristica laurella
Myristica laurifolia
Myristica laurina
Myristica laveifolia
Myristica laxiflora
Myristica lemanniana
Myristica lenta
Myristica lepidota
Myristica leptocarpa
Myristica leptophylla
Myristica leucoxyla
Myristica linifolia
Myristica litoralis
Myristica longepetiolata
Myristica longicuspis
Myristica longifolia
Myristica longipes
Myristica longipetiolata
Myristica lowiana
Myristica luzonica
Myristica macgregori
Myristica macrantha
Myristica macrocarpa
Myristica macrocarya
Myristica macrocoma
Myristica macrophylla
Myristica macrothyrsa
Myristica madagascariensis
Myristica magnifica
Myristica maingayi
Myristica majuscula
Myristica malabarica
Myristica malaccensis
Myristica malayana
Myristica mandaharan
Myristica mannii
Myristica markgraviana
Myristica mascula
Myristica maxima
Myristica mediovibex
Myristica mediterranea
Myristica melinonii
Myristica membranacea
Myristica mexicana
Myristica micrantha
Myristica microcarpa
Myristica microcephala
Myristica millepunctata
Myristica minahassae
Myristica mindanaensis
Myristica mindorensis
Myristica miohu
Myristica missionis
Myristica mocoa
Myristica mollissima
Myristica montana
Myristica montanoides
Myristica morindaefolia
Myristica moschata
Myristica motleyi
Myristica mouchico
Myristica muelleri
Myristica multinervia
Myristica murtoni
Myristica myrmecophila
Myristica nana
Myristica neglecta
Myristica negrosensis
Myristica nesophila
Myristica niobue
Myristica niohne
Myristica niohue
Myristica nitida
Myristica nivea
Myristica notha
Myristica oblongifolia
Myristica obtusifolia
Myristica oleifera
Myristica oligocarpa
Myristica olivacea
Myristica olivaeformis
Myristica orinocensis
Myristica ornata
Myristica otoba
Myristica ovicarpa

Myristica pachycarpidia
Myristica pachyphylla
Myristica pachythyrsa
Myristica palawanensis
Myristica palembanica
Myristica paludicola
Myristica panamensis
Myristica pandurifolia
Myristica paniculata
Myristica papillatifolia
Myristica papillosa
Myristica papuana
Myristica papyracea
Myristica paradoxa
Myristica parviflora
Myristica paucinervis
Myristica pavonis
Myristica pectinata
Myristica pedicellata
Myristica peltata
Myristica pendulina
Myristica perlaevis
Myristica peruviana
Myristica petiolata
Myristica philippensis
Myristica philippinensis
Myristica pilosella
Myristica pilosigemma
Myristica pinnaeformis
Myristica platyphylla
Myristica platysperma
Myristica platyspermum
Myristica plumeriaefolia
Myristica polyantha
Myristica polyspherula
Myristica prainii
Myristica probaly
Myristica procera
Myristica pseudo-argentea
Myristica psilocarpa
Myristica pubicarpa
Myristica pulchra
Myristica pulverulenta
Myristica pumila
Myristica punctata
Myristica punicifolia
Myristica pygmaea
Myristica quercicarpa
Myristica racemosa
Myristica radja
Myristica resinosa
Myristica reticulata
Myristica retusa
Myristica ridleyana
Myristica ridleyi
Myristica riedelii
Myristica robusta
Myristica rosselensis
Myristica roxburghii
Myristica rubiginosa
Myristica rubinervia
Myristica rubrinervis
Myristica rufa
Myristica rufula
Myristica rugulosa
Myristica rumphii
Myristica sagotiana
Myristica salicifolia
Myristica salomonensis
Myristica sangowoensis
Myristica sapida
Myristica sarcantha
Myristica schlechteri
Myristica schleinitii
Myristica schleinitzii
Myristica schumanniana
Myristica scortechinii
Myristica scripta
Myristica sebifera
Myristica sepicana
Myristica sericea
Myristica sesquipedalis
Myristica sessilis
Myristica simiarum
Myristica simulans
Myristica sinclairii
Myristica smithii
Myristica smythiesii
Myristica sogeriensis
Myristica sorsogonensis
Myristica spadicea
Myristica spanogheana
Myristica speciosa
Myristica sphaerocarpa
Myristica sphaerosperma
Myristica sphaerula
Myristica spicata
Myristica sprucei
Myristica stenocarpa
Myristica stenophylla
Myristica suavis
Myristica subalulata
Myristica subcordata
Myristica subglobosa
Myristica sublanceolata
Myristica subsessilis
Myristica subtilis
Myristica subulata
Myristica succadanea
Myristica succedanea
Myristica succosa
Myristica sulcata
Myristica sulphurascens
Myristica suluensis
Myristica sumatrana
Myristica sumbavana
Myristica superba
Myristica surinamensis
Myristica sycocarpa
Myristica sylvestris
Myristica tamrauensis
Myristica teijsmannii
Myristica tennivenia
Myristica tenuivenia
Myristica teysmanni
Myristica theiodora
Myristica tingens
Myristica tomentella
Myristica tomentosa
Myristica trianthera
Myristica tristis
Myristica tuberculata
Myristica tubiflora
Myristica uapensis
Myristica uaupensis
Myristica ultrabasica
Myristica umbellata
Myristica umbrosa
Myristica uncinata
Myristica undulatifolia
Myristica urdanetensis
Myristica uviformis
Myristica valida
Myristica velutina
Myristica venosa
Myristica verruculosa
Myristica villosa
Myristica vinkeana
Myristica virola
Myristica vordermanni
Myristica vouri
Myristica vrieseana
Myristica wallaceana
Myristica wallichii
Myristica warburgii
Myristica wenzelii
Myristica womersleyi
Myristica wrayi
Myristica wyatt-smithii
Myristica xylocarpa
Myristica yunnanensis
Myristica zeylanica
Myristica zippeliana

punto rojo More information on nutmeg in the listing above

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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.
"Botanical" is not responsible for damages caused by self-medication.