Introduction to Grenada Nutmeg

Introduction to Grenada Nutmeg
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The nutmeg was brought to Grenada from Banda in Indonesia around 1843 by Honourable Frank Gunney.  The first trees were planted at Belvedere Estate in the parish of St. John’s where the high rainfall and good soil condition favoured the successful establishment of the plant. In Grenada, there are two types of nutmegs; the “Banda” introduced in 1843 and the “Malasian” introduced in 1957, following the destruction of approximately 80 percent of Grenada’s nutmeg fields by Hurricane Janet in 1955.  The tree produces two spices, each with a distinctive fragrance and flavor – the nutmeg, which is the kernel and the mace, which is the arillode surrounding the kernel.

The nutmeg seed is one of four components of the fruit obtained from the nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans Houtt (Myristicaceae). About 30 – 55% of the seed consists of oils and 45 – 60% consists of solid matter including cellulose materials. There are two types of oils: (1) The “essential oil of the nutmeg” also called the “volatile oil” accounts for 5-15% of the nutmeg seed and (2) the “fixed oil of nutmeg” sometimes called “nutmeg butter” or expressed oil of nutmeg accounts for 24 – 40% of the nutmeg seed. The relative percentages of the different compounds will very depending on the geographical origin of the nutmeg.

The intrinsic characteristics of Grenada’s nutmegs are superior to nutmegs from other origins because of the following features:

•   Low in aflatoxin, which easily meets the EU limits (<5 ppb and <10 ppb).

•   Low in safrole, only 300 ppm.

•   Low in pesticide residues.

•   Excellent traceability.

•   No risk of adulteration as Grenada has no wild nutmegs

•   A low risk of pesticide residue content.

•   Minimal problems in heavy metals. Myristica fragrans