Varieties -> Whole nutmegs are grouped under three broad quality
1. Sound: nutmegs
which are mainly used for grinding and to a lesser extent for
oleoresin extraction. High quality or sound whole nutmegs are
traded in grades which refer to their size in numbers of nutmegs per
pound: 80s, 110s and 130s (110 to 287 nuts per kg), or 'ABCD' which
is an assortment of various sizes.
2. Substandard: nutmegs which are used for grinding,
oleoresin extraction and essential oil distillation. Substandard
nutmegs are traded as 'sound, shrivelled' which in general have a
higher volatile oil content than mature sound nutmegs and are used
for grinding, oleoresin extraction and oil distillation; and 'BWP'
(broken, wormy and punky) which are mainly used for grinding as
volatile oil content generally does not exceed 8%.
poor quality nutmegs used for essential oil distillation.Distilling
grades of nutmegs are of poorer quality: 'BIA' or 'ETEZ' with a
volatile oil content of 8% to 10%; and 'BSL' or 'AZWI' which has
less shell material and a volatile oil content of 12% to 13%.
Method of Processing ->
When fully mature it splits in two,
exposing a crimson-coloured aril, the mace, surrounding a single
shiny, brown seed, the nutmeg. The pulp of the fruit may be eaten
locally. After collection, the aril-enveloped nutmegs are conveyed
to curing areas where the mace is removed, flattened out, and dried.
The nutmegs are 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 hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in
their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden
truncheon and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are
grayish-brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. Large ones may be about
1.2 inches long and 0.8 inch in diameter.
Traditional Ethnic Uses
it is used to flavour many kinds of baked goods,
confections, puddings, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such
beverages as eggnog. The spices in their ground form are mainly used
in the food processing industry, principally in the seasoning of
meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces, baked goods and
spice mixes Both spices have similar taste qualities; mace is more
popular because of its light orange colour in light coloured foods.
Nutmeg, in general, tends to be sweeter and more delicate. These
products are also used in the perfumery and pharmaceutical
Taste and Aroma: Nutmeg has a
characteristic, pleasant fragrance and slightly warm taste
Adulteration -> Insects that attack
nutmegs only extract the fat oil. They do not interfere in any way
with the essential oil.