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Nutmeg     When Columbus sailed from Spain looking for the East Indies, nutmeg was one of the spices for which he was searching. Native to the Spice Islands, this seed from the nutmeg tree (a tropical evergreen) was extremely popular throughout much of the world from the 15th to the 19th century. When the fruit of the tree is picked, it is split to reveal the nutmeg seed surrounded by a lacy membrane that, when dried and ground, becomes the spice mace. The hard, egg-shaped nutmeg seed is grayish-brown and about 1 inch long. The flavor and aroma are delicately warm, spicy and sweet. Nutmeg is sold ground or whole. Whole nutmeg freshly ground with a nutmeg grater or grinder is superior to that which is commercially ground and packaged. Nutmeg is excellent when used in baked goods, milk- or cream-based preparations like custards, white sauces or eggnog and on fruits and vegetables — particularly potatoes, spinach and squash.

    If you've got it, but don't know what to do with it, below are some traditional dishes that the spice complements nicely.

Salads fruit; ham; slaw; tomato
Soups & Stews beef; black bean; chicken; fruit; pea; potato;
squash (summer and winter); tomato; vegetable
Fish & Poultry chicken; duck; turkey
Meats beef; pork; sausages
Vegetables corn; eggplant; mushrooms; onions; potatoes; pumpkin;
spinach; tomatoes; winter squash
Pasta; Grains;
Dried Beans
beans; bulghur; couscous; lentils; noodles; polenta; rice
Cheese & Egg Dishes most savory cheese dishes, soufflés
Sauces cheese; chocolate; cream; fruit; meat; sweet; tomato
Desserts chocolate; fruit; gingerbread; pumpkin; spice cakes and cookies
Miscellaneous chutneys; coffee; eggnog; fruit juices; hot chocolate; jams; marinades; mulled wine; sweet breads

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