The nutmegs Myristica are a genus of evergreen trees indigenous to tropical southeast Asia and Australasia. The tree provides two spices derived from the fruit, nutmeg and mace. Mace is the dried "lacy" reddish covering or arillus of the seed. There are few varieties available in the world. The most important species commercially is the Common or Fragrant Nutmeg Myristica fragrans, native to the Banda Islands of Indonesia; it is also grown in the Caribbean, especially in Grenada. Other species include Papuan Nutmeg M. argentea from New Guinea, and Bombay Nutmeg M. malabarica from India.
Usage: Nutmeg and mace have similar taste qualities, nutmeg having a slightly sweeter and mace a more delicate flavour. Mace is often preferred in light-coloured dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like colour it imparts. Nutmeg is a flavorful addition to cheese sauces and is best grated fresh. In Indian cuisine, nutmeg powder is used almost exclusively in sweet dishes. It is known as Jaiphal in most parts of India. It is also used in small quantities in garam masala. In Middle Eastern cuisine, nutmeg powder is often used as a spice for savory dishes. In European cuisine, nutmeg and mace are used especially in potato dishes and in processed meat products; they are also used in soups, sauces and baked goods. In Dutch cuisine nutmeg is quite popular, it is added to vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and string beans. Japanese varieties of curry powder include nutmeg as an ingredient. Nutmeg is a traditional ingredient in mulled cider, mulled wine, and eggnog.