Essential Spice Nutmeg seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden club and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. The spice has a distinctive pungent fragrance and a warm slightly sweet taste. it is used to flavor many kinds of baked goods, confections, puddings, potatoes, meats, sausages, sauces, vegetables, and such beverages as eggnog.