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TIP OF THE DAY: Go Nuts For Fresh Nutmeg

peugeot-nutmeg-grinder-230

This Peugeot nutmeg grinder is top-
of-the-line, but may be more ginder
than you need.

Just as freshly-ground pepper bears no resemblance to the bland, pre-ground powder, freshly-ground nutmeg is a vibrant spice that perks up sweet and savory dishes alike.

We use it to flavor apples and other seasonal fruits (pies, compotes, sautéed sliced fruit), to make cookies and pastries and in custards. We love it in egg dishes and vegetable purées. It’s our favorite seasoning with spinach in any form, and on pasta with broccoli rabe.

For beverages, use nutmeg in addition to (or instead of) cinnamon on hot chocolate, coffee, cappuccino, mulled cider, warm milk, cold milk, chocolate milk and of course, eggnog.

While some cooks grate the whole nutmeg against a fine plane kitchen grater, we value our skin and use a nutmeg grinder (nutmeg mill)—it’s the same principle as a peppermill, but it accommodates the much larger nutmeg, which is the size of an unshelled hazelnut.

If you’ve had the nutmeg for several years, you can check the quality by piercing it with a needle. If the skin pierces slightly and a drop of oil flows out, the nut is still fresh. If the skin won’t pierce, it’s dried out. By the way, mace is the milder-tasting dried hull of nutmeg—the part you peel off to get to the nut, and nutmeg is the nut of a tree fruit.





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