Nutmeg, common name for any of a family of
evergreen shrubs and trees. The nutmeg is native to the Moluccas
in Indonesia. It has also been widely cultivated in southern
Asia, the West Indies, and Brazil.
Nutmeg has a distinctive, pungent fragrance and a
warm, slightly sweet taste; it is used to flavour many kinds of baked
goods, confections, puddings, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables. The
trees may reach a height of about 20 metres. They yield fruit 8 years
after sowing, reach their prime in 25 years, and bear fruit for 60 years
or longer. The Fruit is similar in appearance to an apricot and contains
a shiny, brown seed in a shell called an aril.
The aril is dried gradually in the sun and turned twice daily over a
period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away
from its shell until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The
shell is then broken with a wooden truncheon and the nutmegs are picked