It was once a sapling
Now, it is a tree. About eight or nine feet tall, the nutmeg tree can be defined as a cash crop. The nutmeg tree stands to give plenty of fruits each season. The month of May and June is the prime time when fruits ripen and fall. It takes approximately three months for the fruit to ripen.
The pictures I have taken will help you understand the process. I had posted the picture of a nutmeg flower and received comments that many had not seen the flower before. This inspired me to take real-time photographs of the nutmeg fruit, flower, and seed.
I hope you will find it interesting.
The trees were planted years ago by my in-laws. Organic manure like cow dung and wood ash is spread on the ground, around the tree and covered with dry leaves. The foliage helps provide a good shade and therefore, the ground is a haven for earthworm's which eventually also helps in enriching the soil.
The nutmeg is a fruit. The fleshy fruit splits when the seed inside tries to come outside the fleshy shell. The red flower can be seen, peeping from inside the fruit. It is then plucked by hand or prodded by a stick so that it falls down. The tree has branches, stemming from even the lower parts of the trunk and so it is easy to pluck the fruits.
The seed and the flower are separated and dried. The fleshy fruit part is used in some parts of India as a pickle.
The flower is used as a spice in dishes like Biriyani. It is also used as a herbal and Ayurvedic medicine.
The seed is dried and then the outer shell is crushed to get the grey colored nutmeg. This is then dried again, mostly in sunlight and stored. There is a huge demand for it and gets the farmer, a fair price. It is also used as a medicine. A small portion of the seed can be mixed with a spoon of cow's milk and given to people who suffer from diarrhea.
When you come across a nutmeg, you can, I hope, visualize the process it goes through before it reaches you.
image source - sayee