For most of us, nutmeg is associated with the aroma that permeates the air during chilly weather and helps flavor our favorite fall meals and drinks. The reality of this aromatic tree, though, is far from the typical North American autumn.
The nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans) is a tropical evergreen native to the balmy and very un-autumn-like Spice Islands in the South Pacific. The tree is the source of not just one spice but two: nutmeg from its seed, and mace from the aril of the seed. Luckily, if you live in zones 10 or 11 in the United States, you can grow your own (or, if you’re impatient, head to the grocery store while you wait for yours to grow).