Does Nutmeg Go Bad?

Does nutmeg go bad or not? Nutmeg is great for pumpkin and apple pies, or for creamy dishes, but it CAN go bad if stored improperly. Here is a guide.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget a spice in your cupboard and buy a new bottle. If that’s the case with your nutmeg, you may be worrying:

Has my nutmeg gone bad? How long does it last?

Here’s how nutmeg’s self-life works. Generally, whole nutmeg will retain its freshness for four years in the pantry. Ground nutmeg, on the other hand, stays fresh for two years.      

Related:Does Cinnamon Go Bad?

How To Tell If Nutmeg Has Gone Bad

nutmeg powder

Look out for these sure signs to tell if your nutmeg has spoiled or lost its potency.

If any water gets to your whole or ground nutmeg, mold or organic growth will be present. If that is the case, throw it out. An off smell is another indication that you should discard the nutmeg.

If water doesn’t contaminate it, it should be safe to eat. However, you’ll want to check its potency. To test this, simply rub a small amount of ground nutmeg between your fingers. Then taste and smell it.

If it has weakened significantly, you may want to throw it out for quality purposes.

To test whole nutmeg, grate a bit of it and repeat the above process.  

How To Store Nutmeg

brand of ground nutmeg

Just like other spices, store nutmeg in a cool, dark place away from sunlight and heat sources. The pantry is an ideal spot, or even a spice drawer in the kitchen can work.

If your ground nutmeg comes in paper packaging, it’s best to transfer it into a container that is easy to reseal. Ground nutmeg should be stored away from moisture, sunlight, and high temperatures.   

How Long Does Nutmeg Last?

grating nutmeg

This aromatic spice made from the native Indonesian evergreen nutmeg tree can last for a pretty long time.

Whole nutmeg retains its best quality longer than ground nutmeg. Whole nutmeg will generally keep fresh for about four years, while ground nutmeg will stay fresh for about two years. This is about the best quality of the spice. It should last longer than this, as long as water doesn’t get to it.

However, nutmeg does lose its potency and flavor over time. Be sure to test your nutmeg to determine if you’re still satisfied with the flavor.  

Health Benefits of Nutmeg

ground nutmeg brand

Nutmeg contains powerful antioxidants that protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Other health benefits include that it may help heart health, boost moods, and improve blood sugar control.     

The Bottom Line

If you’re unsure how to use nutmeg, here are some easy ideas. Nutmeg is great in sweet and savory dishes. Use your nutmeg for apple or pumpkin pies.

Or add it to creamy dishes such as alfredo sauce. It’s also great when topping pumpkin spice lattes. There are so many more uses for nutmeg in your recipes.  

Nutmeg doesn’t generally spoil unless water gets to it. To avoid this, be sure to store your nutmeg properly. This means storing it in an airtight container away from moisture, sunlight, and high temperatures. Furthermore, a cool, dark area is ideal for your nutmeg.

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Alisa Shimoyama

Alisa eats her way around the world on her travels and likes to have good food ready and waiting for her when she gets back.