Freshly Grated Nutmeg - Holiday DIY
As the year hurtles into November, a baker's thoughts naturally turn to the holiday season at the end of the year. For me, the flavor profile of the holiday season is topped by nutmeg. Many family recipes for holiday cookies and cakes feature nutmeg. Nutmeg sugar cookies, nutmeg feather cake and nutmeg rum logs are just a few of the recipes that leap to my mind. Exotic and assertive, nutmeg flavors both sweet and savory dishes. But what is nutmeg?
Used in ground or powdered form, nutmeg is the seed of an evergreen tree that is native to Indonesia. Nutmeg is readily available in powdered form but I prefer to buy whole nutmeg and grate it myself as needed. Grating a whole nutmeg ensures the freshest flavor for your dessert or dish.
Nutmeg is easy to grate yourself. There are graters and other gadgets specifically dedicated to nutmeg. I prefer to use a microplane, which is one of my essential baking tools. A microplane is a type of grater. It has very small, sharp teeth which yield a finely grated product. Can you see the teeth in the photo to the right? Microplanes can be used for zesting citrus fruit and grating cheese as well as grating nutmeg. By the way, that's a whole nutmeg there on the microplane. Be careful when you are using a microplane - those teeth are very sharp. Take it from me, catching a fingertip on those teeth hurts!
Whole nutmeg does not have a hard shell or anything like that. You can grate a teaspoon or two of nutmeg in no time at all. And the aroma is simply divine. As we go deeper into fall and the holiday baking season, you'll notice that nutmeg will appear in many of the recipes that I'll be making. I just love it and I hope that you will too. Happy Baking!