With the abundance of nutmeg fruit and drinks, balms and oil in Penang, you’d think that nutmeg is a perennial fruit. Naturally, it’s not. Nutmeg trees flower and fruit twice a year but they can be harvested over a couple of months rather than immediately, explains Chang Kun Mim, managing director of Ghee Hup Enterprise.
He is the third generation in his family to own and run a four-acre nutmeg farm in Balik Pulau, but he also processes the nutmegs from the other farms. The whole nutmeg fruit is pickled in salt and sugar (from a month to three), then the fruit is skinned and halved to remove the seed. The seed is then dried to be used in cooking and baking, the red skin around the seed is separated and added to oil and balm. The fruit is cut and then further soaked in sugar (50kg of sugar for 50kg of fruit) for a couple of weeks to be eaten as a snack. The longer the flesh is soaked in sugar, the crunchier it is. Like a coconut, every part of the fruit is used. The nutmeg tree flowers after five years, yielding four to five kilos of nutmeg per season.
Ghee Hup Enterprise
202A, Mk 3, Sungai Pinang, 11010 Balik Pulau, Penang. Tel +604 866 8426 / +6016 433 6303