Nutmeg is warming, slightly nutty, somewhat sweet, and it can have a subtle flavor for anyone especially heat averse, similar to cardamom or a very subtle black pepper. It is an important inclusion in spice blends like garam masala and ras el hanout. It pairs well with other “autumnal” flavors like cardamom, cinnamon, and clove, and is often associated with the holidays (think gingerbread) or as a warming garnish on hot drinks often consumed during the colder months (think pumpkin spice latte). It accentuates the inherent flavors in both cream-based and/or béchamel sauces, as well as the dark greens like spinach, kale, chard, and broccoli rabe. The spice of the nutmeg brings out the fresh, bright flavor of the verdant vegetables.
If using it to season a cream sauce or any dark green, just a touch is all that’s needed — a little goes along way. It’s also excellent as a garnish on many cocktails. Lastly, it pairs well with many types of cheeses. Clearly, there’s versatility at work here.
In addition to its warm flavor, it also boasts health benefits. Throughout history, nutmeg was thought to contain incredible healing capabilities. Healthline notes that nutmeg contains antioxidants, can reduce inflammation, can boost mood, benefit heart health, and control blood sugar. OrganicFacts also notes that it is helpful in lowering cholesterol levels, alleviating pain, helping digestion and sleep, and improving brain health. Nutmeg is also often used in teas, perfumes/colognes, and candle scents.