Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is a historically significant and very valuable spice, originally only grown on the Banda Islands (the Spice Islands). Prized in Europe, Nutmeg was traded through Venice via middle eastern traders who kept its origin secret. In 1511, the Portuguese learnt of the Banda Islands and started direct trading, and by the mid-1600’s both Britain and Holland vied for control of the nutmeg trade. Britain gave up its share to the Dutch in exchange for Manhatten Island, which became New York.
Nutmeg is an evergreen tree that grows up to 20 meters with dense foliage and small yellow flowers. It is typically grown 1,000m above sea level, near the sea in a hot moist climate. It is grown in parts of the West Indies (Indonesia) and is also grown in the East Indies (Grenada) as well as Sri Lanka. A healthy tree can produce between 1,500-2,000 nutmegs per year. The fruit resembles a small peach and when mature the fruit splits to reveal the seed.
Nutmeg oil is obtained from the kernel of the seeds and mace oil is obtained from the red husk (aril) coating the nutmeg seed. The world production of nutmeg is around 12,000 tons per year and mace is around 2,000 tons. Nutmeg seed contains up to 40% fixed oil – this can be expressed and is known as nutmeg butter. Worms eat the seeds and consume starches and the fixed oil, leaving the volatile oil. Worm eaten seeds are thus preferred for essential oil production. The seeds are dried and crushed before they are steam distilled. The world production is around 300 tons of oil.
Nutmeg is extensively used in culinary applications to add spice and flavour. It also has pharmaceutical uses with the ability to relieve issues such as rheumatic pain, owing to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Nutmeg can also be found in other applications including the cosmetic and personal care industry.
Our Nutmeg Oil is a warm and spicy natural nutmeg blend with creamy and sweet notes which offers stability while providing an authentic nutmeg product.
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