Tom Kane's Blog

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image Myristica fragrans

Anyone who has read any of my posts on gardening, probably realise that though I’m all for nice and neat rows of flowers that make a great display and attract butterflies and bees, I also like to grow things that are a little bit out there, plants that are not normal to a suburban garden.

Take for example the OutREDgeous Space Lettuce or the Hungarian Apple Melon. Maybe you fancy a nibble on a Psidium Guave or a little Apple Paprika in your Goulash and all the while admiring the colours in the Latana Camara.

image of Latana Camara

Latana Camara

These are some of the plants I’m hoping to grow from seed, but the one I think is going to be a real test to grow is the Myristica fragrans, or Nutmeg as most call it.

The seeds are the source of the spice nutmeg. These are powdered and usually added to sweet dishes like sauces, custard, puddings and cakes. The dried flesh surrounding the seed (that’s the red bit in the top picture) is the source of the spice mace which can be used to flavour savoury dishes such as soups, sauces, curries, pork pies (one day I’ll make my own pork pies) and pickles. The flesh of the fruit is also edible and can be cut in slices and eaten as a delicacy with sambal, which is a chili sauce or paste.

All in all quite a useful tree and normally grown in the tropics. It was Marco Polo who introduced nutmeg to the Europeans which is now commercially grown in the Caribbean, in particular the spice island of Grenada. Having visited Grenada once in my travels, I can certainly attest to the heady smell of nutmeg in the markets there.
Nutmeg is used in India to increase sexual stamina and the Chinese used it to cure diarrhea – not sure if there’s a connection between sex and pooh! Some herbalists recommend it for digestive disorders and vomiting, and has been used in treating palpitations caused by stress. Many in the west were introduce to nutmeg as an essential ingredient of rice pudding. But beware, high doses of nutmeg can be toxic and hallucinogenic and was once used by prisoners in jail to relieve boredom, sometimes leading to an untimely death.
Well, we shall see if I can manage to grow this from seed, though I don’t expect it to flower or produce fruit for a number of years, if at all. It may seem a bit pointless as I may well be dead by the time it flourishes. Well, that’s exactly the point, it’s the challenge that matters and if I succeed in simply growing the plant from scratch, I’ll be happy.

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

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Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here