Exploring the science behind everyday plants- Nutmeg

What do the classic european winter dishes of cauliflower cheese and mince pies have in common with traditional indonesian semur? The answer- nutmeg.

Nutmeg is the seed of the tree Myristica fragrans, with its close relative, Mace, being the seed covering. These days it is cultivated around the world in tropical regions but it originates from the Banda Islands of Maluku. In the Middle Ages it was traded across to Europe by the Arabs but, in 1511, the Portuguese annexed the islands. This was the start of the enslavement and murder of the Bandanese and over 100 years of bloody battles with the Dutch and English.

Map of the Banda islands and their location in Indonesia.

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