Nutmeg for Baby
Did you know in India, babies are fed curry, lemongrass and coconut milk as first foods? These flavors are a part of their culture, so they don't think twice about introducing their little ones to a little bit of zip early on in life. In America, we tend to shy away from introducing spices at a young age, but it can definitely be done! Nutmeg is a perfect spice for baby. It's nutty, a little bit sweet, and is a tasty addition to muffins, sweet breads, puddings, or even savory meats and vegetables. It also has many medicinal properties. Nutmeg has been shown to have antibacterial properties that help fight cavities in the mouth, it can help improve memory and even help improve symptoms associated with Alzheimer's Disease, and is a natural remedy to help with flatulence and upset tummies.
Highlighted Nutritional Importance of Nutmeg
Vitamin A - crucial for healthy eyes and good vision and for building baby's immune system
Vitamin C - this potent antioxidant is important for the immune system and for healing small cuts and scrapes
Folate - a B Vitamin that helps support the brain and nervous system
Manganese - a major antioxidant that helps protect cells from free radical damage
Copper - a trace mineral that helps to build red blood cells and boost the body's ability to mend tissues
Magnesium - important for regulating energy within the cell and for healthy bones and teeth
Safety Precautions and Nutmeg
Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid the use of large doses of nutmeg. It can cause miscarriage in pregnant women and can inhibit prostaglandin production (involved in child birth process). It also contains hallucinogens that may affect the fetus, if consumed in quantities greater than 7.5g. However, it is important to remember, most recipes call for very small quantities of nutmeg since it is such a pungent spice.
How to Select and Store Nutmeg for Baby Food
As with any spice, purchasing organic is preferred in order to avoid irradiation (the process when spices and food are subjected to radiation as a preservative).
Nutmeg loses its flavor and aroma quickly, so it's best to purchase fresh nutmeg that hasn't been ground yet. The larger the nutmeg, the better in terms of flavor, so look for those that weigh 6-7 grams. If purchasing ground nutmeg, look for spices that are stored in a glass, airtight container and that have a spicy, pungent aroma. The best way to make sure your nutmeg is still fresh is to smell it and make sure it still has that spicy, sweet aroma you smelled when you first opened it. If it smells stale, or weak, it's time to discard.
Your baby and kiddos will love the spicy, sweet flavor of nutmeg added to their favorite savory and sweet purees. Nutmeg pairs perfectly with cinnamon-spiced dishes, root veggies, and sweet muffins and cakes.
Recipes using Nutmeg