NUTMEG

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

nutmeg anatomy

As-Salaamu ‘Alaikum Sweet Beautiful and SPICY Asiatic Black Sisters 😉

I don’t know what it is about NUTMEG that is so fascinating. It could be its distinctive, flavorful and feel-good taste but ever since I first learned to distinguish it from cinnamon, I have been an ardent admirer of its aroma and flavor.

This occurred during my “long vacation” back in 1999. We were served Cream of Wheat that was flavored with a spice that I unknowingly mistook for cinnamon. One of the other inmates voiced my inner voice, but was immediately corrected by another Sister, whose name escapes me, that the delightful addition to our breakfast cereal was, in fact, NUTMEG. Only then did I realize that the flavor was not cinnamon as I had previously thought. Ever since then I have enjoyed a fanciful relationship with this intriguing and inciteful spice.

The reason I use the term “inciteful” is because throughout history, NUTMEG has been treasured as a precious commodity and even the Primary cause for dreadful and bloody Wars resulting in the massacre of tens of thousands of original people at the hands of the merciless devils.

nutmeg on tree

Nutmeg is the interior portion of a seed from the fruit of an evergreen tree that is indigenous to the Maluku (Spice) Islands of Indonesia. The scientific name for the most common type of Nutmeg producing tree is Myristica fragrans. This tree is the ONLY plant that produces two different spices: NUTMEG and MACE.

NUTMEG FRUIT OPEN SHOWING MACE COVERED SEED

Mace is a spice that is similar to Nutmeg but according to what I’ve read, (I’ve never tasted it) Mace is more pungent and spicier. I’ve never seen it in stores but I did find it online and was flabbergasted by the costliness. If I ever happen upon the opportunity to sample it, I think it would be interesting to compare the two (Nutmeg and Mace).

In any case, MACE is the waxy red spiny covering (aril) of the Nutmeg seed as illustrated in the picture above. It is flattened, dried and sold either in its solid form or ground. Typically used in cooking, as would Nutmeg be used.

spice_route

NUTMEG is one of the spices popularized and prized during the lucrative spice trade dating as far back as 3000 B.C. For many thousands of years, the source of these delicacies was kept as a secret among the exclusively Arabian traders.

However, in 1511, the Portuguese explorer, Alfonse de Albuquerque overpowered the Maluku Islands and extracted from the citizens the knowledge that the Banda Islands were the producers of the spices that were so prized in Europe and other places. Over the next century the Portuguese sought to control the Islands but were unsuccessful and contented themselves with trading directly with the Malukans. They were, however, able to infiltrate the spice trade ending the Arabian traders monopoly on supplying the commodities to other regions.

In 1595, the Dutch trailed the Portuguese to Indonesia also “discovering” the Spice Islands. But unable to trade their unwanted and impractical goods (thick woolen clothing and damask cloth, completely unsuitable for tropical climates), they sought to dominate Nutmeg productivity and set about gaining control over the entire area.

Using trade as a covert operation, they established the Dutch East Indies Trading Company, and killed 14,000 of the 15,000 indigenous inhabitants of the land and completely colonized the Spice Islands in 1611. The remaining diminished population of only 1,000 Original People, the devils spared only to make them their slaves, cultivating and harvesting the natural resources of their own homeland for the devil oppressors.

The British controlled one small insignificant Island in the Malukas. However, in 1667, at the end of the Second Anglo-Dutch War, they traded it, in exchange for a tiny, useless Dutch controlled island in the Americas, called New Amsterdam (eventually renamed Manhattan!) bringing the Dutch’s monopoly on the Spice Trade to completion.

For a century and a half, The Dutch enjoyed complete autonomy in the exclusive business of trading spices, maintaining exorbitant prices which only the very affluent could afford to pay. Under Dutch control, Nutmeg was a valued culinary accoutrement only accessible to the wealthy.

During this period, The Dutch enforced strict prohibitions on Nutmeg seed distribution, limiting production of the Nutmeg bearing tree to this single area of our Planet. The Dutch went through great pains to contain the production area, including destroying trees that grew as a result of fruit birds spreading the seeds to other islands.

In 1769, during the Napoleonic Wars, the British took advantage of the opportunity to seize the Maluka Islands and for a brief period of four years gained control of the coveted Spice Islands. At the end of the Wars, The First Treaty of Paris returned the Islands to the Dutch, however, their proverbial cat had been let out the bag. During the British dominance, Nutmeg seeds were planted in other areas under British control, including the tiny Caribbean Island of Grenada, the exclusive Nutmeg provider to the United States.

Nutmeg production in Grenada is so pivotal to trade with America that when the small Island revolutionized their government to Socialism and nationalize the nutmeg producing farms, America invaded the tiny island, ostensibly to thwart the spread of communism but also to retain their sway over nutmeg production and distribution.

8 Amazing Health Benefits of Nutmeg
HEALTH BENEFITS OF NUTMEG
  • A glass of milk with a pinch of powdered nutmeg before retiring aids sleep.
  • A pinch of nutmeg in culinary dishes provides trace minerals that keep the immune system strong. Potassium, calcium, iron and manganese are among key minerals found in nutmeg.
  • Just a little nutmeg, ground and mixed with water or honey into a paste, can make skin look clearer and brighter within a few days, reducing scars and alleviating acne. You can also add nutmeg to your face scrub for the same benefits.
  • For centuries, nutmeg has been used as a medicinal spice that brings relief from digestive problems. A little nutmeg grated into soups and stews boosts flavor and also aids in digestion.
  • The traditional spice used in dentistry has been the clove. But nutmeg too has proven antibacterial properties that protect the teeth and gums. Nutmeg oil has eugenol, which brings relief from toothache. It is a common ingredient in toothpaste and combined with cinnamon, makes a powerful antiseptic, antimicrobial paste.
  • Nutmeg helps retain your sharpness in thinking. It contains a natural organic compound called myristicin, which is known to shield your brain against degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
  • The essential oil of nutmeg brings relief from muscular and joint pain.  When applied to a localized area of swelling and discomfort, it alleviates the pain immediately.
  • In wholistic medicine, nutmeg is often prescribed to boost blood circulation and treat kidney infections. Traditional healers believe it also strengthens the liver.

A note of caution: It is almost impossible to overuse nutmeg, because all that’s needed is a tiny pinch to reap its unique taste and nutritional benefits. Even so, overuse of nutmeg is known to cause palpitations, sweating, hallucination and other discomforts, so as with anything else, use this wonderful spice in moderation.

Nutmeg essential oil

The essential oil in Nutmeg can be extracted and used for its aromatherapeutic effect and improvement of mental stability. It is known to soothe, calm and relax strained or stressful constitutions and can also be used as a muscle relaxer.

It has a profound effect on our emotions as well. It diminishes depression, doubt and insecurity resulting in more enjoyment of life and improving confidence, allowing us to maneuver through and cope with life’s fluctuations (ups and downs) with alacrity.

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