Friday, October 25, 2019

**REVIEW** Fresh Nutmeg & Mace

Going way too far...
That time of year is coming when I most enjoy baking. The only thing I hate about this time of year is how pumpkin-spice-crazy people get. I avoid Starbucks and all the other places that push the pumpkin theme. This is silly in a way because I do love pumpkin - to an extent - and pumpkin pie is actually a year-round favorite of mine.







But I love the humor!






I was making a pie a few weeks ago and realized that I never reviewed this fresh nutmeg that I have fallen in love with.


They look a bit
like very pale pecans, huh?


That is some whole India-produced nutmeg I got from the Amazon seller Simply Beautiful (**).

There's a range of sizes in the bag I got
My mother always used fresh spices whenever she could. At the least, she changed out her canned spices and extracts often and she was picky about brands. I have mainly used ground spices in cans that I keep for years and store in the hottest part of my kitchen - in a cabinet right near the stove... My mother would keep her canned spices away from the stove and she kept the fresh items tightly sealed in jars and in a cooler spot. The older I get, the more I want to be like my mom. This is why I am starting to cook with fresher and whole ingredients when possible.

I asked the Amazon seller (Simply Beautiful) about sourcing for more fresh spices and they referred me to the Spicy World of USA website.  (The site comes up in my browser as not being secure, by the way.) I think that a simple web search though would lead anyone to some good sources for spices and extracts. Amazon has quite a selection of reputable sellers I have used in the past for various items. Do your research because finding and using the good stuff is worth it.

For anyone who has not used fresh nutmeg, I can't stress enough what a difference it makes. Making a pumpkin pie always makes a house smell amazing but with fresh nutmeg, the fragrance is next-level lovely. As part of my new calorie-conscious lifestyle, I will sometimes just eat chilled canned pumpkin mixed into some Greek yogurt with a little brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Or I will warm some pumpkin pie mix (that already has spices included) and eat it plain. It's not only low-cal, but it's also a tasty and soothing snack any time of day.


                                                   

Click on the labels to see just how nutritious the pumpkin and pumpkin mix can be. 
















Another way I have used the fresh nutmeg is to grate a little bit into a shallow pan of simmering water with a couple drops of cooking oil. It's a cheap way to make the house smell nice in a hurry.

Long before I got the fresh nutmeg, I had gotten hold of another spice called mace (which you can learn about here). I love using the mace in puddings and cakes and in my coffee. I had first heard of it from a neighbor years ago while living in England. What I did not know until I bought some here is that mace is the outer coating of the shell that houses nutmeg. Talk about learning something new every day.


This is mace in the bag & freshly ground nutmeg on the plate

It's hard for me to detail the difference in the taste of nutmeg and mace except to say that the flavor of the mace is softer and milder. It's more subtle and I find that it has a sort of natural sweetness to it. Nutmeg seems to be a sharper and more pronounced flavor. But then again, I'm no culinary expert.

I can tell you that having fresh nutmeg around makes more sense to me. I don't use a lot of the spice every single day so my canned supply is bound to get a little stale no matter how well I store it. I keep my fresh nutmeg sealed in a mason jar in the door of the fridge. One shell lasts me a really long time - at least as far as I can grind it without hurting my fingers. I keep a few shells in a plastic baggie so I can pull out a little and grate it as needed.

My food sealer comes in handy
all the time.

You don't need anything super fancy to grate fresh nutmeg. I use one of those cheap little fine graters that I got at Dollar General for a buck. When the shell gets too small to safely grate that way, I grind it in a coffee grinder and just toss the residue in with my ground coffee. Someone suggested buying one of those cheap files used in pedicures would also a way to grate the nutmeg. The Dollar General grater works best for me, thanks

Smells SO good when grating it
You can probably tell that this one jar of nutmeg is full enough to last me for the best part of a year - if not longer. I don't even bother using my remaining canned nutmeg anymore. Now that I have gotten used to the fresh stuff, I plan to look around for some affordable fresh mace.


Just for kicks, here is a video talking about nutmeg and the mace. I even added it to my playlist of all things food and cooking:



By the way, I got the mace from Spice Jungle on Amazon (of course). I'm glad to have it and the nutmeg to use in my coffee and pies for the winter. Another seller on Amazon I have gotten spices from is Frontier Co-op. Their Ceylon cinnamon and chocolate are excellent. I will keep my eye open for more sources and update this post.

Peace
--Free


I don't know why, but I like to listen to some Patsy when I am baking. This is a fave.









(** I did not receive a free/discounted product. I mention the seller name for readers who might want to see their details on Amazon.)