The Nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans
, is an evergreen tree that produces nutmeg and mace. It originates from the Banda Islands in the Moluccas, Indonesia
and was grown in substantial quantities in Penang
, as well as in Grenada
in the Caribbean
. It is known as Buah Pala in Malay
The nutmeg fruit measures about 20 to 30 mm in diameter, and weighs between 5 to 10 g when dried. The can be eaten fresh. It can be grounded up to make a drink with the addition of rock sugar syrup and ice, called Lau Hau Peng. Often it is sliced or julienned, mixed with sugar and eaten as a snack. The julienned nutmeg is also used as topping for ais kacang, a popular Penang dessert. You can find these different ways of preparing nutmeg at the Balik Pulau
market in Penang.
After the flesh is removed, there is a reddish lacy covering over the seed. This is mace. It can be used as a spice as well as for medicinal purposes.
Mace and seed