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Nutmeg and mace are the main two products of this perennial evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans. Nutmeg tree yields up to three times in a season. Once harvested from the tree, its outer coat or husk is removed and discarded. Just underneath the tough husk is the golden-brown color aril, known as “mace,” which firmly enveloping around the nutmeg kernel. Mace is gently peeled-off from its kernel surface, flattened into strips, dried, and sold either as whole (blades) or finely ground powder. Nutmeg kernel is then dried under the sun for several days to weeks.
There is some evidence to suggest that the Roman priests may have burned nutmeg as a form of incense. It is also known to have been used as a prized and costly spice in medieval cuisine, used as flavorings, medicines, preserving agents and that was at the time highly valued in the European markets. Nutmeg is reported to have been introduced to Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 19th century but there is evidence that the crop had been brought here even before that by merchants who were traveling on the Silk Road.
Nutmeg is famed due to its usage as a spice and for health benefits such as reducing blood pressure and blood glucose level. Sri Lankan Nutmeg shows distinctive features as a significant amount of its chemical compounds are conducive to its flavor and to larger oil content.