Since ages, the trading of spices from Kerala to the remaining parts of the world has been into prominence. Cardamom and cinnamon were amongst the first spices that were exported to foreign countries followed by pepper, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. European trading organizations including the French, Dutch and English fought over nutmeg seeds as well as manipulated supplies so as to increase the prices in the European markets.
Nutmeg plantations flourish in high humid climatic conditions. The plant grows to the fullest when kept off from direct sunlight. The fruits ripen between the months of December and May. The climatic condition of Kerala best suits the growth and development of the nutmeg. Adimali, Muvatupuzha, Koothattukulam, Thodupuzha and Kanjirapalli are some of the places in Kerala where nutmeg plants are grown. Nutmeg plantations add to the economical status of the state. In fact, the government has also come up with beneficiary agendas so as to improve nutmeg plantations in Kerala.
Nutmeg has a delicate aroma with a tinge of mint and a lemony flavor. Once the fruit ripens, it splits into equal halves and you’ll find a brown stone like structure embedded in a red membrane. The former can be used as a spice and latter is sold as mace in its dried form. Nutmegs get along well with pear, banana, apple, pies and tarts. Nutmegs are grown and harvested in Kerala. Nutmeg can be used as flavoring ingredients in different culinary delicacies including pudding and cake. The fruit is also said to have medicinal properties and its extracts are used for treating rheumatism.
The botanical name of the plant is Myristica fragrans. The evergreen plant has its origin in Indonesia. Today, the plant grows in plenty in Kerala. The average height of the plants is up to twenty meters. The fragrant spice appears same as an apricot and belongs to family tree of Portuguese and Moluccas traders.