Nutmeg: The Taste of Moluccas

By Indonesia Gastronomy Network

in collaboration with Negeri Rempah Foundation

Nutmeg in Jars (2018-06-29/2018-06-29) by Cahyadi Putra (Negeri Rempah Foundation)Indonesia Gastronomy Network

Nutmeg is an endemic spice of Banda Island, Moluccas.

Its production area includes Sulawesi, Papua and Aceh. Indonesia contributes 70 to 75% of the world's nutmeg supplies. Today, nutmeg is grown in various regions in Southeast Asia, South India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, the Caribbean, and Grenada.

Gezicht op Ambon (ca. 1617) by anoniemRijksmuseum

The rarest spice in the world

For centuries, nutmeg was the rarest spice in the world and could only be found on the island of Run in the Moluccas. Throughout Middle Age, Chinese and Persian traded nutmeg to European courts. Then starting from the 17th Century, European countries fiercely fought to secure their nutmeg monopoly. First the Portuguese then the British then the Dutch.

Nutmeg Seed (2018-10-14/2018-10-14) by Cahyadi Putra (Negeri Rempah Foundation)Indonesia Gastronomy Network

In 1677 with the Treaty of Breda, the English ceded Run Island to the Dutch in return for Manhattan. What seems like an unbelievable exchange today was seen as a very strong deal for the Dutch who secured their monopoly on the rarest and most demanded spice.

Nutmeg Tree (2019-07-17/2019-07-17) by Josh Catti Rahadi (Negeri Rempah Foundation)Indonesia Gastronomy Network

Nutmeg trees can grow up to 20 meters.

This tree begins to bear fruit in the seventh year, reaches its best quality at the age of 25, and can continue to bear fruit for up to 60 years.

Nutmeg in Half (2019-07-18/2019-07-18) by Josh Catti Rahadi (Negeri Rempah Foundation)Indonesia Gastronomy Network

Good quality nutmeg is yellow, red, or yellowish red. When the fruit is ripe, it will split in half and reveal the flesh, nutmeg (about 1.5 cm in size), as well as a red wrapper shaped like a web called mace.

Nutmeg Seeds (2015-09-27/2015-09-27) by Cahyadi Putra (Negeri Rempah Foundation)Indonesia Gastronomy Network

The seeds will harden when they are sun dried.

To get the nutmeg, the meat is taken first, and the pulp is peeled. When taken from the fruit, the nutmeg is still soft.

Tabu Moitomo on Hand, Cahyadi Putra (Negeri Rempah Foundation), 2015-10-20/2015-10-21, From the collection of: Indonesia Gastronomy Network
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Tabu Moitomo, Cahyadi Putra (Negeri Rempah Foundation), 2015-10-20/2015-10-21, From the collection of: Indonesia Gastronomy Network
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Nutmeg is used in a variety of savory preparations, from stews, curries, soups, rice, meat and vegetables.

Picked Nutmeg (2019-10-10/2019-10-10) by Cahyadi Putra (Negeri Rempah Foundation)Indonesia Gastronomy Network

Nutmeg and mace can be used to treat insomnia and impotence.

They can also be used to aid dyspepsia, flatulence, digestive problems, diarrhea, dysentery, rheumatism, vomiting, nausea, headaches, bad breath, and tooth decay.

Credits: Story

Text:
Cahyadi Putra
 
Image and Design:
Josh Catti Rahadi (photographer), Cahyadi Putra (photographer), Rahma Shafira (layouter)
 
This exhibition is part of Indonesia Gastronomy Network, in association with Google Arts & Culture and Negeri Rempah Foundation.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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