Nutmeg is a flavourful spice that has a coarse texture and is red in color. It thrives in the autumn season and, widely obtained from the seeds.
The nutmeg is an essential component of both- savory and sweet dishes.
It is the perfect accompaniment to baked goods, whether it is a vegetable stew or a hot beverage.
The nutmeg can be stored as a whole spice or ground to form a powder, which can be stored safely.
Nutmeg is generously used for seasoning purposes and can add a whole lot of flavor to otherwise bland food.
Being a spices enthusiast has taken you a long way in the world of cooking good food packed with flavor.
If you’re just another person who has a drawer full of spices and doesn’t know where the packet of nutmeg went, well then, you’re in the right place.
Maybe it just crossed its shelf life or expiration date, and though hidden in plain sight, it may work well beyond its usage capacity.
How Long Does Nutmeg Last? Does Nutmeg Go Bad?
When stored, Nutmeg is done so, either as a whole spice or in the form of a powder ground to a coarse mixture.
It’s a known fact that the powdered mix lasts for a shorter duration in comparison to the whole spice.
The primary reason being that grinding the spice exposes it to the chances of it getting spoilt many times greater than in the case of the whole spice.
Every fine grain of the spice, easily subjected to spoilage, unlike whole spices.
Spices usually come with a date by which usage or consumption becomes necessary.
Usually, it is guesswork for the duration till it will stay viable because spices retain their flavor and aroma longer.
The shells of the nutmeg get removed, and the seeds are dried individually. The ground spice can last for six to eight weeks after they get dried in the sun.
After you store them in air-tight containers, the nutmeg can stay longer when protected from direct exposure to heat and sunlight.
Hence, the whole nutmeg can remain fresh for six months and even as long as four years without any change in flavor or aroma.
The seeds stay stable and in many suitable forms.
Though it lasts longer, at times, the strength and appearance of the nutmeg will fade.
The longer you store the nutmeg, the spice’s flavor and aroma fall a great deal.
In the case of packaged and store-bought nutmeg, the packets and containers come with labels and safety leaflets.
These dates are set as an estimate by the manufacturer or the reseller to notify people about the timeline until the spice’s quality remains the best.
For the containers, there are covers and lids, which can help in capping the spice within. Hence, the nutmeg will replenish its quality and power.
Overall, it remains unaltered and safe for human consumption.
How to Tell if Nutmeg is Bad?
There is a simple test that you can carry out quickly to know whether the nutmeg is good.
To understand its efficacy, all you need to do is take a pinch of the powder and rub it or crush it in the palm of your hand.
If you can’t smell or taste a pronounced flavor, then you can announce that the nutmeg has lost its potency.
In terms of spoilage, there are many ways that a batch of the nutmeg can go wrong.
Fungal growth and contamination are the major factors due to which the spoilage of nutmeg occurs.
In such a case, the odor and the consistency of the spice changes, due to which you will experience an off-putting smell.
Only when the moisture content is high in the surroundings can it reach the spice packets and, in turn, lead to moldy growth.
However, if you keep it away from the water, then you have nothing to worry about.
You can easily use nutmeg shavings to get a better idea about nutmeg quality. The flavor of the spice needs to be intact so that extensive usage of nutmeg becomes possible for making the food tasty.
Like any other food sensitive to changes in the environment, it is necessary to carefully and adequately store nutmeg.
Keeping it away from direct light, heat, and moisture conditions become essential.
So, if you’re interested in purchasing in bulk, you can buy the whole nutmeg and store it in a tight-fitting container.
Hence, you can decide whether you want to use the whole spice or powder.
You can grind nutmeg to obtain a fine powder as per your preference.
Keeping the nutmeg fresh and aromatic is of utmost priority, and you can do it with resources at hand and at ease.
Spice it up and spruce your meals!