How to distinguish quality spices from fakes: nutmeg


Nutmeg is one of the tropical spices with an intense spicy aroma and a sweetish bitter taste. The main country of growth is Indonesia. Muscat can also be found in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia.

Nutmeg grows on trees, which in height can reach 10-12 meters. Each fruit of nutmeg ripens about two years.

An immature fruit does not have a special taste and aroma, for which consumers buy it. Most often, such fruits are dried to reduce the cost and falsification of ground nutmeg.

In Nutmeg, the most valuable is the amount of essential oil that gives a characteristic taste and aroma of spice. Only ripe fruits contain the necessary amount of essential oils.

Nutmeg consists of the outer part of the "Fruit", the red shell "Maсе", "Shell" and the nut "Seed".

The outer part (Fruit) contains up to 1% essential oil.

The outer part of the "Fruit" (Fruit) is used for falsification-cheapening of ground Muscat Nut.

Mace - red shell of walnut, the most expensive part of the fruit, contains most of the essential oil, more than 15%.



Mace (mace) is a popular spice in the world, well suited for flavoring sweets, desserts, jams and jams. It is often added to pastries, creams and fillings. Mace (mace) gives an unusual taste to spicy and salty dishes - sauces, soups, rice and vegetables. Will make the aroma of hot drinks and compotes unique.

Shell - has a dark brown color and contains up to 0.5% of essential oil. It is the shell most often used by unscrupulous producers for falsification-cheapening of ground Muscat Nut.

Kernel / Nut - Seed contains 8-10% essential oil.

The kernel of nutmeg contains a large percentage of essential oil and costs less than Mece, so it is the core that is most often used for cooking a variety of dishes - meat, fish, vegetables, salads, sauces, soups, desserts and even beverages.

During the harvest, the farmers pick the nut from the tree, separate the outer part (Fruit), the red shell (Mace) from the core in the shell and dry under the sun for a week. Incorrect billet technology, for example, not complete drying (which often occurs during the rainy season in unscrupulous farmers), results in mold damage to the nut. In such a nucleus (Seed), the increased content of aflatoxins and ochratoxins, which are especially dangerous to health.


Aflatoxins (short for Aspergillus flavus toxin) are the most deadly, of all biologically produced poisons, aflatoxins are the strongest hepatoconcera from those found to date. The toxin destroys liver cells, causing acute toxic hepatitis. There are data on the relationship with liver diseases of the liver, the manifestation of mutagenic and teratogenic effects (violation of the gene structure, manifested in deformities in subsequent generations). Resistant to heat treatment of the product.

Their toxicity is very high: consumption of products with a content of 1.7 mg / kg aflatoxin in a short period can lead to irreversible changes in the body. When a high dose of poison (75 mg / kg of body weight) enters the body, death occurs within a few days due to irreversible liver damage; when a low dose occurs, chronic aflatoxicosis develops (suppression of the immune system, DNA damage, activation of oncogenes).

Responsible suppliers cut the walnut in half and sort out the nut with mold under the Ultraviolet light. Nut with mycotoxins glows yellow fluorescent glow.

Following the practice of leading European and American companies producing seasonings and spices TM "Pripravka" purchases kernels (Seeds) of nutmeg cut into halves and after grinding at its own capacities. Therefore, the share of essential oil in the ground nut is 6%, which is higher than the minimum level set in the EU standards (where the essential oil should be at least 4%).

Quality nutmeg has a warm brown closer to the reddish tint. It can contain a little dark inclusions - these are parts of the nut in which the essential oil has appeared. Quality nutmeg has a characteristic strong aroma.


When grinding nutmeg some of the essential oils evaporate. The kernel of the nutmeg is very saturated with essential oils, so it is very difficult to grind. Essential oils also volatilize during storage, so to maintain the taste and aroma of spice it is important to use a dense packaging with high barrier properties.



The spices of the fine fraction can be forged more easily than their more expensive analogs whole or with large pieces of spices.

The main ways of falsifying the ground nutmeg and cheaper raw materials by unscrupulous producers:

1. Falsification by raw materials. The use of low quality BWP grades (broken - broken, wormy, punky - rotten), mixing of varieties (for example, the addition of wild nutmeg, which also looks like but contains fewer essential oils and has no characteristic smell and aroma) .
2. Falsification of raw materials by adding organic and inorganic impurities. Adding small shell particles (Shell) and husk, spenta (waste after extraction of essential oil, which contain solvents, acetone), use of low quality nutmeg scrap, Fruit.


Nutmeg shells




Spent (waste after extraction of essential oil)


Buying a ground nut can not accurately determine the composition. Most suppliers in the ground nut add the outer portion (Fruit) and shell (Shell) to reduce the product and sell it in the guise of pure ground nuts (Seed), earning at times more.


It is necessary to pour a thin layer of ground nutmeg on the sheet, press down on top with a white sheet and evaluate:

The presence of dark inclusions, which have a solid structure and are not susceptible to cracking. Such inclusions are a clear sign of the presence of the shell, which indicates the content of plant-derived impurities and / or the insufficient degree of nut purification from the shell.
Color and color saturation. Not a quality nut more dull grayish-greenish shade.
Taste. The mass should be uniform, if the powder crunches on the teeth, it is poorly cleaned. The acidic taste indicates the addition of the outer part (Fruit).

Sample №1. Low quality.

A sample of one of the Ukrainian producers. The sample has no characteristic odor, a color with a greenish tinge. A large proportion of dark large inclusions.

Sample № 2. TM Pripravka.

High quality. The sample has a characteristic brown color, brightly expressed, strong aroma.



Nutmeg TM "Pripravka" passes 7 stages of raw material purification:

  • Disposal of a batch of raw materials that does not comply with food safety standards
  • Magnet - cleaning from magnetized metal impurities
  • Separation under ultraviolet lamps - removal of molds and nuts with aflatoxins
  • Vibrosito - cleaning of plastics, glass, garbage
  • Desmond - clearing of stones, earth
  • Aspiration - cleaning from dust, insects, deformed nuts
  • Metal Detector - cleaning from non-magnetized metal impurities


15 June 2017