01 August 2010

Nutmeg And Mace Spice In Photos

Nutmeg And Mace Spice In Photos

Nutmeg and mace are two of those mysterious spices that are really, unusual in where they come from.  They also have many strange stories attached to them - they used to be thought of as part of a cure for the plague and are reputed to be a key ingredient of Coca-Cola as well as being mildy hallucinogenic.  I have collected together some photos (of varying degrees of quality) to show some of the parts to this story.

Nutmeg is a tree that grows a sweet fruit a bit like a cross between and apricot and a mango.  The outer flesh is used for making jams and chutneys.

Nutmeg Tree

Nutmeg Fruit With Mace Showing Through

Nutmeg Fruit Cut Open

The nutmeg is picked and the mace threads are taken from the outside of the nutmeg shell, and dried to get the mace.

Nutmeg, Mace And Cocoa Beans

The nutmeg is the seed that is within the shell; a bit like an almond or brazil nut within its outer shell.  The shells are broken and the nutmeg removed and dried on drying racks.

Nutmeg On Drying Racks

After drying the nutmegs are sorted and graded by hand, then stored in hessian sacks, or other sacks that allow the nutmegs to breathe to prevent them becoming mouldy.

Checking Nutmeg Quality

Sorting Nutmeg

Hessian Sacks Full Of Nutmeg

They are then shipped from source in Indonesia, Grenada or Sri Lanka to spice merchants around the world for use in food manufacturing, creating food flavours or packing as spices - whether whole or in powder form.

Packing Nutmeg At Steenbergs Spices