When Nutmeg Goes Missing, These Spices Rise To Occasion
Image Credit: Whole and ground nutmeg, Image Source: Freepik

Come winter; nutmeg rises to prominence for its naturally heat-generating ability. Not to miss its exquisite aroma, which imbues a distinct flavour in any food and beverage. This popular spice is derived from the seeds of the evergreen tree Myristica fragrans, native to Indonesia's Moluccas, often referred to as the Spice Islands. Nutmeg's appeal originates from its numerous culinary applications. Its nutty and sweet flavour complements both savoury and sweet meals, such as casseroles, soups, eggnog, lattes, and pies. Some people dislike the taste of this spice but still want to try dishes that include it. Similarly, there are times when this spice is in short supply. In such cases, there are a few alternatives.

So, let's learn about its potential substitutes. 


Dried allspice, Image Source: Freepik

Allspice is a spice that is usually found in kitchen cabinets. It's sometimes referred to as pimento or Jamaican pepper. The berries of the evergreen tree Pimenta dioica are used to make allspice. The flavour is typically a blend of nutmeg, pepper, juniper berries, and cinnamon. However, true allspice is prepared solely from the berries and not with other spices. You can swap out equal amounts of nutmeg with allspice in your recipes.


Fresh ginger roots, Image Source: Freepik

Ginger root, often known as ginger, is used throughout cuisine. It has an intense, less sweet flavour than nutmeg and is commonly used in savoury foods. Many people swap dried and crushed ginger for fresh, whole ginger. Ginger is an excellent substitute for nutmeg in savoury meals and goes well with both meat and vegetable-based dishes. However, it may not be appropriate for sweeter meals such as desserts. In recipes that call for nutmeg, use an equal amount of ginger.


Dried cinnamon, Image Source: Pexels

Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of Cinnamomum-genus trees. Apart from the whole spice, one can quickly get ground cinnamon powder. The latter thus makes a perfect for substituting nutmeg. Furthermore, it is inexpensive and available in practically all grocery stores. Cinnamon has a strong flavour; therefore, only a tiny amount is usually required. Because nutmeg is pungent, try using half the amount suggested in your recipe.


Whole cloves, Image Source: Freepik

Cloves are a popular spice that originated in Indonesia. Its flavour is generally characterised as sweet with a peppery taste reminiscent of nutmeg. Many recipes, in fact, call for both nutmeg and ground cloves. It is best to use ground cloves because they integrate well into most recipes. Use half the required amount when substituting ground cloves for nutmeg in a recipe that asks for only nutmeg. To avoid the cloves overwhelming your meal, you might wish to substitute another spice if the recipe requires both nutmeg and ground cloves.


Whole dried mace, Image Source: Freepik

If you're looking for a nutmeg substitute, mace is your best bet. The good thing is that both spices are derived from the Myristica fragrans tree. While nutmeg comes from the plant's seeds, mace is the outermost layer of the seed, classified as an aril. Nutmeg can be substituted for mace in a 1:1 ratio.