Nutmeg is a widely used spice that’s made from a seed that’s taken from the nutmeg tree. Nutmeg is an inner seed of the fruit and is known as an autumn spice. It is widely used in fall beverages and desserts. In addition, it can be used in savory recipes, including squash soup and vegetable gratin. However, the usage depends on the nutmeg form you are using. So, let’s check out the fresh nutmeg vs ground nutmeg comparison!
Fresh Nutmeg vs Ground Nutmeg
When it comes down to the ground nutmeg, it is available in a pre-ground form and is available in the form of fine powder. The ground nutmeg is quite easy to use and convenient and is available at an affordable price. When you open the ground nutmeg jar for the first time, the flavor and aroma will be quite pungent, but with time, the flavor and potency will reduce.
The ground nutmeg tends to have a brown color and is a great way of enhancing the richness of your food’s flavor. It can be used in combination with ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. It is widely used in seasonal dishes, particularly during the winter and fall seasons. However, you can use it all year long, depending on the recipe you are making.
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It is recommended to opt for ground nutmeg that was grown organically and it must be stored in a dry and cool place where there is no light and heat. When it comes down to the flavor, ground nutmeg has a woody, fresh, and bittersweet flavor with undertones of cloves. In addition, it has a rich aroma and adds an aromatic, deep, and warm flavor to your food. The ground nutmeg is made by grinding or blending the whole nutmeg seeds, which means its oils have evaporated, which is the reason behind its mellow flavor and aroma.
Fresh nutmeg is the name used for the whole nutmeg and it tends to have the size of the plum pit. It is available in jars and a jar is filled with six to eight seeds. You can grate the seeds according to how much you need for cooking (you can use a spice grinder or a microplane for grating). The best thing about fresh nutmeg is that it lasts for a long time as long as you are careful about the storage.
The fresh nutmeg is likely to have a stronger flavor and aroma. This is because the fresh nutmeg gets its aroma and flavor from the volatile oils present in the seeds – these oils tend to evaporate when the seeds are grounded. For this reason, it is suggested that you use the ground nutmeg as soon as you grind them. Also, you can grind the quantity you need and store the remaining nutmeg in seed form. It is recommended that you store the fresh nutmeg in sealed and airtight containers.
As far as the availability is concerned, it’s quite easy to find in the supermarkets and grocery stores. However, it’s best that you purchase it from the Asian stores as they have pure nutmeg, promising better flavor.
Using Ground Nutmeg In Place Of Fresh Nutmeg
To begin with, you need to understand that ground and fresh nutmeg are the same spices, so it’s possible to use them in place of each other. However, you need to be careful about the difference in flavor intensity and aroma because the ground nutmeg has all the oils evaporated from it. For this reason, you can use them as substitutes for each other but you must adjust the measurements.
For instance, if you use fresh nutmeg as a substitute for ground nutmeg, it’s recommended that you use a less quantity to prevent over-flavoring. On the other hand, if you need to substitute fresh nutmeg, you will need to use more ground nutmeg. Keep in mind that the longer you store the ground nutmeg, the more you will need to add to your food. It is important for compensating for the diminished aroma and flavor, given the evaporated oils.
The Bottom Line
The nutmeg is available in fresh as well as ground form. Grating the fresh nutmeg usually produces a cleaner and fresher flavor as compared to using the store-bought ground nutmeg. So, you need to consider the recipe you are preparing to select the right form of nutmeg.