It’s easy to see why chefs go nuts for nutmeg…it adds warmth to desserts like apple pie, flavor to classic beverages such as eggnog, and depth to creamy sauces including alfredo and bechamel.

Nutmeg comes from the seed of a peach-like fruit that grows on the nutmeg tree, a type of evergreen tree in Indonesia. The seed is dried in the sun over the course of several weeks then separated from the outer coat (called mace, which is also sold as a spice).

Nutmeg, which has been shown to have antimicrobial and antioxidant powers, has been used to treat digestive issues as well as help relieve pain, including diabetic neuropathy. Studies confirming these benefits have been small and limited, but there’s no debating its ability to elevate recipes.