Encyclopedia Archives: N


nutmeg (nuht-meg) noun

Nutmeg fruit

One of two spices derived from the evergreen tree Myristica fragrans, the other being mace. Nutmeg is often found in winter holiday sweets, some cream-based sauces and, commonly, eggnog. It is a pungent, fragrant spice and a little goes a long way.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Image: Wikimedia Commons

The  fruit looks somewhat like an apricot in size and shape. As it ripens, it splits and exposes the single brown nut (what we buy as whole nutmeg in the store) surrounded by the vivid red aril, which is mace (as seen in image above). The nutmeg and mace are separated and sundried and processed separately. Most commercially prepared nutmeg is grown in Grenada as well as the Spice Islands of Indonesia. It is sold either ground or whole; these nutmegs are about 1 to 1 ½-inchs in length and about ¾-inch wide. 1


Bakepedia Tips

The spice is featured prominently in our Nutmeg Logs.

Purchased ground nutmeg is often granular and easy to measure. Freshly grated nutmeg has a fluffy texture and 1 teaspoon of the former does not equal 1 teaspoon of the latter, so use what the recipe calls for. Brands can also vary in flavor and potency due to quality and freshness. In the image below, you can see pre-ground far left adjacent to a small amount of fluffy just-grated nutmeg. The center is another brand of pre-ground. On the right is freshly ground with the whole nutmegs as well. We like to use the Microplane Grate and Shake style grater, as seen in the bottom image. This one has storage as well.


As with all ground spices, nutmeg loses its aromatic qualities and an old jar will not be nearly as potent as freshly ground. Start with a lesser amount as this spice can easily take over a dish. It is not uncommon for a Pinch or 1/8 of a teaspoon to be recommended in a recipe.



  1. Encyclopedia Brittanica
Continue Reading •••
Posted in


nougat [noo-guht] noun

Also known as torrone in Italian. A classic aerated confection based on whipped egg whites and cooked sugar (like a chewier, denser marshmallow). Nougat usually features nuts and is typically served cut into small squares or rectangles, although it is made in large sheets. It can be sweetened with sugar, honey (or both) and may have the addition of glucose or corn syrup.

When the sweeteners have been heated to the proper temperatures (anywhere from 250°F for a soft nougat to 313°F for a brittle nougat), they are gradually poured onto the whipped egg whites and beaten until cooled. At this point, other ingredients such as chopped almonds, pistachios, dried or candied fruit are added. Melted chocolate or cocoa powder can be added for a chocolate flavor.  The mixture is then quickly spread into a prepared pan, sometimes lined with edible rice paper, which can also be placed on top.

Continue Reading •••
Posted in
Skip to toolbar