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Nutmeg grows on a large tropical tree in areas of the world where it is hot, yet shady. The Moluccas of the Indonesia area, sometimes called the Spice Islands, are a popular area for nutmegs to grow. The tropical tree produces flowers, but only the blossom of the female tree turns into a fruit that resembles a peach. However, the female flower can only produce fruit if the pollen from the male tree's blossom fertilizes it.
During the "spice wars" of the middle ages, the Dutch took control over the Spice Trade. They were determined to keep a monopoly on nutmeg (they didn't want anyone else to grow it), so they strictly guarded their orchards of nutmeg trees down in the Moluccas. They didn't want anyone to carry off nutmegs or young trees to grow orchards anywhere else. But, the Dutchmen didn't count on a certain band of thieves-the birds of the island. These birds picked up nutmegs in their daily flights and dropped them onto nearby islands and other places outside of Dutch control.
Nutmeg was used medicinally for many years before used to season food. The people used it to relieve bites of poisonous animals and in a drink to relieve gas. Today nutmeg is used mainly to season food. It grows in the tropical areas of the West Indies, Brazil, Columbia, Central America, and of course in the Moluccas in the Bandu Sea.

This Nutmeg recipe is from the Food Facts and History Cookbook. Download this Cookbook today.

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