Independence Day 2015 & The Nutmeg
Today, the 7th of February, 2015 is the 41st anniversary of Grenada’s (greh-NAY-dah’s) Independence.
I grew up in the Spice Island of Grenada and awakened this morning with a desire to write a little something about my home for today’s writing exercise. As I was thinking about a subject matter for my writing today, I made myself a cup of Chai Tea and then instinctively sprinkled a bit of Nutmeg on top. Doesn’t everyone do that?
I sipped on my tea, and smelled that wonderful and powerful aroma of the Nutmeg. Right then, I had a realisation. Nutmeg is not a staple in most people’s diet and probably not a spice that most people would even think to add to their food or drink outside of perhaps, the Holiday Season.
Growing up in the Spice Island of Grenada, Nutmeg was more than just a Holiday Tradition. The aroma and taste of Nutmeg is something that melds with just about all foods as far as I am concerned!! To be honest, I can live without salt or pepper but not without nutmeg and cinnamon!
Grenada attained its political independence from Britain in 1974 which meant having a new flag uniquely Grenadian. The key element remaining on the new flag was the Nutmeg. Nutmeg and tourism are the two main sources of revenue for Grenada so it is quite fitting that the Nutmeg dons our flag with honour.
Although from the sound of it’s name you might be inclined to consider the Nutmeg a nut, this is not the case. The Nutmeg is in fact a fruit. As the Nutmeg fruit ripens, it splits open while still on the tree, to reveal it’s seed. Nutmeg the spice, is derived from the oval-shaped, lightly wrinkled dark brown seed of the Nutmeg fruit. It is sold either whole or ground. The best taste is derived from grinding the Nutmeg yourself when ready to use it. This is not as practical as buying the already ground form of Nutmeg in the spice jar, but there is a definite enhancement of taste when you grind it yourself!
Covering the Nutmeg seed is a net-like bright red membrane which is in fact the Nutmeg’s twin spice, Mace. The yellow outer body of the Nutmeg is the pericarp. It is edible and used to make nutmeg jelly, syrup, and candy. No part of the Nutmeg fruit is wasted in Grenada but the only parts really exported are the Mace and the Nutmeg seed.
I challenge you to consider integrating Nutmeg into your diet. You will not be disappointed! It really is not just for holidays and desserts. Nutmeg is wonderful on sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cabbage, broccoli & spinach. Add a bit of butter or coconut oil to awaken your taste-buds to a flavourful combination. Sprinkle it on raw or cooked apples or bananas to name a few fruits or add it to the top of your fruit salad. Nutmeg on your breakfast foods, scrambled eggs, pancakes or oatmeal is delectable. Nutmeg is generally best as an additive sprinkled after cooking on food that is still warm or freshly baked. Do consider adding a touch of Nutmeg to your diet and spread the word!!
Indonesia and Grenada are the only two significant exporters of Nutmeg with Grenada holding about 20% of the market!