The seeds of a large, evergreen tree indigenous to the Molucca Islands (Spice Islands). It is now cultivated widely in the tropical zone.
Nutmegs grown on the West Indian island of Grenada are considered to be particularly fine.
The leafy skin surrounding the nutmeg is also used as a flavouring - see entry under Mace.
The sweet, aromatic flavour of nutmeg has been highly prized since Roman times and together with pepper, ginger and cinnamon was one of the principle commodities of the early spice trade.
Nutmeg is widely used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. It is used in baking and to flavour milk based desserts and sauces as well as in savoury dishes.
It is usually used finely ground and occasionally in a kibbled form.