Our stone nutmeg is hand-picked at peak ripeness from a single orchard in Zanzibar. Nutmeg is the inner pit of a yellow stone fruit that splits open when the valuable pit is ripe. This is truly some of the best nutmeg in the world, harvested by hand and dried in the sun. Grate or grind into pasta sauce, cream sauces and desserts.
Our nutmeg comes straight from a spice cooperative on the islands of Zanzibar and Pemba in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania. Spices were introduced to the islands in the 1800s, when they were ruled by the Omani sultanate, and many of our partner farms have been growing spices for generations.
As with all spices, freshness matters for nutmeg. March is nutmeg season in Zanzibar, and our current lot of nutmeg was harvested last March. Nutmeg is the meat of the pit of a stone fruit, similar to an apricot, and mace is the red, finger-like membrane that surrounds the pit. The fruit itself has a bitter, astringent flavor, but the mace and nutmeg are gorgeous, sweet and fragrant.
Burlap & Barrel is the sole importer of spices from Zanzibar, including stone nutmeg, to the US, and our nutmeg (like all our spices from Zanzibar) is organic.
Meet the Farmer: Meet Mzee Sio and his granddaughter Yusra. Along with his wife, he owns one of the most productive (and successful) nutmeg orchards in Zanzibar, located about an hour outside of Stonetown. Walking through the orchard with us, Mzee Sio pointed up and said "Everything my children have is because of these trees."