Calabash Nutmeg is a local spice that is used in making traditional dishes in Nigeria. It is also used in making herbal medications. Various ethnic groups in the country have different names for it. The Igbo call it ehuru. The Itshekiri call it Iwo; the Urhobo call it erhe while the Hausa call it Gudan Miya. Calabash Nutmeg comes in a hard case and when the case is removed, it reveals the seed which is either ground or grated before it is added to food. Calabash Nutmeg has a very nice aroma and a distinctive taste. It’s best to use a little quantity of this local spice at a time so that its aroma and taste does not overpower other ingredients in the soup.
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One thing I find tiring when it comes to using this spice is cracking the hard case. The process usually involves pan roasting and then cracking the case open with your teeth or a heavy object. Oftentimes, when trying to crack open the case, the Calabash Nutmeg divides into two causing one to go through the stress of deshelling each half. As a fan of stressfree cooking, I have been looking for an easier way to deshell this spice as this whole business seemed too long. I made a few consultations but no one had the answer I sought. This caused me to consider that most of us have this “as was in the beginning” mentality about cooking method.
One day, while I was researching calabash nutmeg, an article on how to deshell it with Blender popped up. A few days later, I conducted my own experiment and it worked. So, if you want to learn this new trick, stay with me awhile.
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The first thing to do is to bring out a clean pan and the quantity of calabash nutmeg that you need. Afterwards, panroast the spice to intensify its aroma. When the nutmegs have browned, transfer them to a blender. You can start by pulsing and then let the engine run for a few minutes. Within that time, you will notice the pieces of the shell floating up. Open the blender and check the nutmegs. If the shells have been removed completely, stop. Otherwise repeat the process until the spice is completely deshelled. Once you remove them from the blender, they are ready for grating or grinding.
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