What happens If you eat expired nutmeg?

In this article, we will answer the question “What happens If you eat expired nutmeg?”, and how to store nutmeg to extend its shelf-life?

What happens If you eat expired nutmeg?

Eating expired nutmeg can cause food poisoning If the nutmegs were stored incorrectly. If you know your nutmeg, especially the grounded or powdered nutmeg, has been in contact with moisture or heat frequently, It is best to discard it past its expiry. If the nutmeg was correctly stored, It is safe for consumption. 

But old nutmeg won’t impart the same flavor to your recipe as its fresh counterpart. Contaminated nutmeg may contain aflatoxins that are carcinogenic to humans. 

They may also contain mycotoxins released by pathogenic fungi. Mycotoxins irritate the respiratory system and prompt allergic reactions.

This article also includes the storage tips for nutmeg to prolong the shelf-life of this spice. Read on If you want to know how to identify bad or spoiled nutmeg powder and the health benefits of nutmeg.

How to store nutmeg?

Nutmeg should be stored like any other spice in your kitchen. It should be protected from moisture, heat sources like direct sunlight, and the stovetop. 

  • A dark, cool, and dry place like the pantry r a kitchen cabinet is the best storage place for nutmeg weather whole or grounded. Frequent exposure to moisture promotes mold growth while continuous exposure to sunlight or heat will destroy the flavor and potency of the spice.
  • The storage container for whole or grounded nutmeg should be an air-tight container. A zip-lock bag can work too. Make sure you remove all the air from the bag before sealing it to create a vacuum. 
  • Nutmeg does not need to be refrigerated. In fact, the humid conditions of the refrigerator will ruin the flavor and reduce the shelf-life of the nutmeg.
  • Ground or grated nutmeg is more prone to spoilage due to an increased surface area that is available for mold attack. If you want to keep your nutmeg for longer, buy the whole nutmeg. 
  • Last but not the least, do not use wet or used spoons to measure your nutmeg powder. It will ruin the quality of the spice.

Can you freeze nutmeg?

Yes, you can freeze nutmeg but It is not recommended to do so. As mentioned previously, the humid environment of the fridge or freezer is detrimental to the potency and safety of nutmeg. 

Moreover, condensation in the storage container of the nutmeg when you frequently use it poses a big threat to the quality of nutmeg. 

Storing nutmeg in the freezer won’t prolong its shelf-life. However, If you are determined to freeze the excess nutmeg, use a heavy duty resealable bag. Make sure to remove as much air from the bag as possible.

How long does nutmeg last?

In the pantry 
Ground 2-3 years
Whole 4-5 years 

The whole nutmeg naturally lasts longer than its ground or powdered part. Moreover, nutmeg is expensive so It is recommended to buy it in smaller quantities so that you won’t have to worry about its storage. Exposure to sunlight, heat, or moisture will reduce the shelf-life of the nutmeg.

How to tell If nutmeg is bad?

  • If the nutmeg smells bad or you notice any type of organic growth, discord the nutmeg. This happens when the nutmeg has been in contact with moisture.
  • If the nutmeg looks fine but has been sitting in the storage for too long, It is best to check its potency before adding it to your recipes.

To check the potency of the nutmeg, grate the nutmeg If It is not powdered. Take some of the grated nutmegs between your finger and give It a sniff. If you can barely smell nutmeg on your fingers, It needs to be discarded because It has lost its potency.

Health benefits of nutmeg 

Nutmeg is a rich source of powerful anti-oxidant that protects your body from oxidative stress due to free radicals. 

Moreover, nutmeg has excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. Nutmeg also promotes heart health, uplifts mood, and regulates blood sugar levels in the blood.

Is nutmeg poisonous?

Nutmeg contains a narcotic substance called myristicin, which can be toxic If consumed in large enough amounts. 

Standard recipes use a safe amount of nutmeg. However, If you consume more than 1tsp of ground nutmeg at once, you may experience wild hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and irregular heartbeat. Symptoms appear within 1-6 hours after ingestion. 

However, nutmeg poisoning is quite rare. Pregnant women should refrain from consuming nutmeg in large amounts. To avoid the risk of miscarriage and birth defects.


In this article, we answered the question “What happens If you eat expired nutmeg?”, and how to store nutmeg to extend its shelf-life?



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