Nutmeg is a perennial evergreen spice tree and a native of Molluccas in East Indonesia. There is some evidence to suggest that the Roman priests may have burned nutmeg as a form of incense. It is also known to have been used as a prized and costly spice in medieval cuisine, used as flavorings, medicines, preserving agents and that was at the time highly valued in the European markets. Nutmeg is reported to have been introduced to Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 19th century but there is evidence that the crop had been brought here even before that by merchants who were traveling on the Silk Road.
Nutmeg and mace are the main two products. Oils are extracted from both nutmeg and mace. Powdered nutmeg and mace is used in curry powders. Nutmeg and mace are mainly used for culinary purposes to flavor curries and other food products, confectionaries and bakery products. It is also used in the preparation of beverages and drinks. Nutmeg is used as an ingredient in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. (Uses of mace and outer rind is not mentioned.
In Sri Lanka, no specific varieties have been identified. Mother trees are selected considering high yield
(over10,000fruits/tree/yr), regular bearing habit, weight of wet whole nut 30g, size of the nut (wet weight 10g /fruit) and heavy mace (wet weight 1g/fruit). Grafting and air layering both can be successfully done. Sri Lanka grown Nutmeg produce fruit bearing female trees.
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