If you’re still having a tricky time figuring out how to use nutmeg powder, you’re definitely on the right track. Read on to check out our quick yet detailed walkthrough on everything you need to know about this versatile ingredient.
Nutmeg is no doubt one of the most popular spices the world over. It is still widely used as a flavoring in countless culinary applications like stews, sauces, pastries, soups, stir-fry, and even beverages. What’s even more interesting is this spice was even used as currency back in the day.
So you’re probably asking what’s so special about this fragrant and sweet spice anyway? Make sure you follow along not just to find out how to use nutmeg powder but also to learn a few fascinating things while you’re at it.
What Exactly is Nutmeg Powder?
Nutmeg powder comes from the seeds of an evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans) that goes by the same name. The nutmeg tree belongs to the plant family of Myristicaceae. The said plant family is also typical in Asia and the Caribbean.
While it’s unclear where this spice first appeared as a culinary flavoring, it was first grown in the Moluccas. If you don’t know where the Moluccas is, you’re probably more acquainted with the Spice Islands’ other name.
Nutmeg powder is processed by first collecting the nut-like seeds of the nutmeg tree. The seeds are then carefully dried under the sun for two months. Besides removing any moisture, the drying process also helps separate the outer seed coat from the kernel itself.
The seeds are ready to be processed into nutmeg powder if a jingling noise radiates when you shake them. This sound means that the seed coat has already split up with the seed. Apart from being ground up into a fine powder, you can also buy whole seeds.
Moreover, the growers will keep the seed coats collected during processing because they have a particular purpose. They’re on their way for processing as “mace,” used in various sweets and pastries.
Many people tend to confuse nutmeg powder and mace because they can be very similar to each other. However, it would be best to keep in mind only a couple of things to distinguish the two quickly. First, this ingredient has a yellow-orange shade, and second, mace has a spicier kick.
Nutmeg Powder Benefits
Apart from having a mildly sweet taste and unique aroma, this aromatic spice has many other benefits you should know about to appreciate it fully. Its multifaceted attributes are not only applicable in the kitchen. Here are just some of the good things that you’re going to get in on if you load up on this spice:
Nutmeg powder keeps your brain in tiptop shape.
Studies show that powdered nutmeg contains components that help improve the release and function of the enzyme called acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is mainly involved in the impulse transmission of nerve cells and sending messages to the brain.
Regular consumption of this spice boosts the movement of acetylcholinesterase in the nervous system. Besides resulting in better overall brain function, this also improves thought processing and memory.
Interestingly, scientists are conducting research endeavors nowadays to determine if this flavor-packed ingredient could help cure Alzheimer’s disease.
It helps protect your skin.
An in-depth scientific analysis of ground nutmeg reveals that this spice is teeming with vitamin B6, naturally protecting the skin. Vitamin B6 works by helping keep hormonal levels in the body balanced. Hormonal imbalances tend to trigger skin issues like acne and excessive oiliness.
Making it a habit to regularly load up on crushed and ground nutmeg also helps lighten scars and prevents redness. The frequent consumption of this spice will help you get in on this spice’s intrinsic anti-inflammatory properties. And while we’re on the subject, click here to check out the best healing herbs for skin.
Nutmeg powder staves off high blood pressure.
What sets nutmeg powder apart from its counterparts is its abundance of beneficial minerals like manganese, potassium, and iron. These minerals help keep blood vessels functioning correctly and stave off hypertension.
Using nutmeg powder regularly has a positive effect on the body by keeping overall blood flow optimal. Besides ensuring that your circulatory system is running smoothly, it also prevents the heart from being strained in the process.
It prevents indigestion.
This mildly sweet and fragrant culinary staple is one of the naturally high spices in dietary fiber. This food component is proven to help keep the gastrointestinal tract working properly. Besides improving the body’s ability to extract nutrients from food, dietary fiber also stimulates regular bowel movement.
Moreover, the essential oils of this flavor-packed ingredient contain components that help prevent flatulence and relieve bloating. Studies even show that this spice may have properties that can help manage Crohn’s disease and diarrhea.
Nutmeg powder stimulates better sleep.
Consuming more nutmeg powder may help if you’re having trouble sleeping or would like to improve the quality of your slumber. This spice contains phenolics, flavonoids, and alkaloids that help promote the release of serotonin.
Scientists nickname serotonin as the “happy hormone” because it promotes and stabilizes positive emotions like happiness and confidence. One other critical effect of ample serotonin levels in the body is improved sleep quality and duration.
And to make things even better, having an abundance of serotonin helps keep cortisol and adrenaline levels in check. These hormones are the ones responsible for feelings of stress and anxiety. Some cultures even encourage drinking a glass of milk with a dash of nutmeg powder mixed in for an excellent night’s sleep.
Nutmeg powder is a natural pain reliever.
Did you know that the essential oils responsible for nutmeg powder’s distinct fragrant aroma have anti-inflammatory benefits? According to experts, the oils in this spice, including safrole, eugenol, and myristicin, can alleviate muscle and joint issues.
Apart from helping relieve swelling and soreness, regular consumption of nutmeg powder also speeds up the healing of inflamed muscles and tissues. Many people consider this culinary ingredient as a natural remedy to arthritis in some parts of the globe.
Simple Pointers on How to Use Nutmeg Powder
Now that we’ve got that covered let’s check out the various culinary applications you can use nutmeg powder. A word of caution, though. This fragrant spice tends to make even the most common dishes into gastronomic delights. You are in for a tasty experience when you try the following:
Add a bit of nutmeg powder to your vegetable dishes for a mysterious touch.
Are you looking to take your vegetable dishes to a whole new level? Adding in a sprinkle of nutmeg powder will do the trick. This spice intensifies the natural sugars in vegetables and helps them retain a succulent bite.
If you’re using nutmeg powder on your next stir-fry, make sure you use vegetable oil or butter for a creamier touch. Remember that a pinch of this spice already goes a long way, so make sure you keep an eye on how much you’re putting in.
We highly recommend using nutmeg powder with leafy greens like spinach and cabbage. It also works very well with cauliflower and broccoli. A dash of nutmeg on root vegetables like carrots and potatoes will add another dimension of taste.
Make it a point to add nutmeg powder a couple of minutes before serving to get the most out of its taste and aroma.
Sprinkle it on your favorite hot beverage for a subtle yet distinct kick.
You’ll never find your usual coffee, tea, or milk boring again if you add a touch of nutmeg powder. Besides giving a mild yet distinct sweetness, this spice will also give your hot beverage an exquisite aroma.
Using nutmeg powder on your next hot drink isn’t complicated at all. You have to prepare your beverage like you usually do and add half a teaspoon of nutmeg. Stir it in carefully until fully dissolved, and that’s it.
What’s fantastic about nutmeg powder is that it doesn’t alter the taste of your drink. This spice gives it a unique kick that will excite your taste buds with each sip. You can use it on your favorite cold beverages as well.
Enhance your baked sweet treats with a dash of this spice.
If you’re anything like most people, chances are you like sinking your teeth into pies, cakes, puddings, cookies, and other sweet stuff. While these delicacies are already quite delicious, you can make them even more delectable with a touch of nutmeg powder.
The next time you’re baking your favorite sweet treats, add about a teaspoon of nutmeg powder to your recipe. You’ll immediately notice the fragrant aroma that caresses your nostrils as soon you sprinkle it in. Bake the whole thing as usual.
You can also sprinkle this spice over your sweet treats as soon as you get them out of the oven. This strategy is ideal if you’d like to taste the nutmeg immediately when you take a bite.
One great thing about using nutmeg powder when baking sweet treats is you don’t have to use lots of sugar. This spice has a subtle yet pronounced sweetness that allows you to lessen the amount of sugar without affecting the overall taste.
Use nutmeg powder to accentuate the sweetness of fruits.
Are you still having a tough time looking for a way to make fruit even more appealing? The next time you’re serving these organic sweet treats, make sure you add a sprinkle of nutmeg powder. Apart from enhancing their taste, this spice will add a fun visual effect.
Nutmeg powder works best with fruits that typically have a sweet taste with sour notes in between. These include mangoes, pineapples, strawberries, apples, and peaches. Depending on your preferences, you may use one or a combination of these.
Cut up the fruits into bite-sized pieces and place them inside a bowl. Sprinkle around a teaspoon or so of nutmeg powder over the slices. Mix them thoroughly until the flesh of the fruits takes on the yellow-orange tinge of the spice. You can also chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 10 minutes for maximum flavor and visual appeal.
A sprinkle of nutmeg powder on meats adds another layer of flavor.
The next time you’re preparing a meat dish, make sure you add a touch of nutmeg powder for a subtle yet savory punch. The natural sweetness of this spice counteracts the meat’s flavor, making the taste tangy yet not overpowering.
All you have to do is rub around half a teaspoon of nutmeg powder into the meat, along with the other flavorings you usually use. Knead thoroughly to get this spice into the meat’s fibers. It’s a terrific addition to barbecues and stews as well.
What’s interesting about nutmeg powder is that you can use it on various meats like pork, chicken, beef, rabbit, and even fish. And it doesn’t tend to overpower the flavors when you accidentally put too much. However, it is still crucial to keep an eye on how much you’re adding in to be extra safe.
Take oatmeal to a higher level with this spice.
If you’re looking to give your run-of-the-mill oatmeal a surprising twist, then you better grab some nutmeg powder. Apart from making your oatmeal more flavorful, this spice will also make the whole thing even healthier.
See, nutmeg powder flaunts a natural sweetness that helps you lessen your overall sugar intake when you load up on oatmeal. It also enhances the flavor by adding a distinct nutty kick. This spice will also give your oatmeal a cool orange shade for added aesthetics.
Just remember to add nutmeg powder when your oatmeal is still warm. Besides allowing the spice to integrate entirely with the oatmeal, you won’t also have to deal with clumps of nutmeg with every spoonful. Keep in mind not to add to much as well.
You can also add nutmeg powder to other breakfast staples like cereals and quinoa. Your breakfast favorites won’t taste the same again.