First time I saw Nutmegs hanging from trees was in Singapore Botanical Garden. In Kannada, it is known as Jakayi, in Hindi it is Jati Phal and in Sanskrit it is known as Jatiphala. The botanical name is Myristica fragrans and belongs to Myristicaceae (Nutmeg) family. Nutmeg is a native of Indonesia.
The trees are huge and can reach to a height of 65 feet.
The bark is grayish black.
The leaves are leathery to touch and are green, elliptic or oblong.
The flowers are off-white and fragrant and blooms in umbel-like cymes. The fruit is green with a single seed.
The seed is covered with a pulpy crimson-colored edible pericarp.
The seed is the Nutmeg that is used in cuisines and when dry it is grayish-brown, oval-shaped with furrowed surfaces.
The seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. The seeds are 1 to 1.5 inches long. The seed when grated or ground to a powder has a mild fragrance, sweet and a warm taste.
The pericarp is used to make jam, candy, topping, juice, and chutney. The crimson-colored edible lace like pulp when dried becomes rust colored and brittle. This is again used as a spice. This is known as Mace or Javitri or Japatre. Mace has delicate flavor.
Nutmegs are cultivated in India for the Seed and is used to flavor many Indian sweets like Shrikhand, Kheer, Burfi, and so on. In other places, it is used to flavor soups, sauces, vegetables, and baked goods.
Nutmeg is commercially used to extract an essential oil and to make Nutmeg butter. The essential oil is used in perfumery and pharmaceutical industries.
Natural healers use Nutmeg to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, and improve cognitive function. It extends its ability to detoxify the body, boost skin quality, alleviate oral conditions, and reduce insomnia. Nutmeg strengthens the immune system, prevents leukemia, and improves blood circulation as well.