I Frequently Used To Visit The Plantations Of Nutmegs And Cloves,
And Refresh Myself With Their Balsamic Fragrance.
is about the size of a fine apricot-bush, and is covered from top to
bottom with thick foliage; the branches grow very low down the stem,
and the leaves shine as if they were varnished.
The fruit is
exactly similar to an apricot covered with yellowish-brown spots.
When ripe it bursts, exposing to view a round kernel about the size
of a nut, enclosed in a kind of net-work of a fine deep red: this
network is known as mace. It is carefully separated from the nutmeg
itself, and dried in the shade. While undergoing this process, it
is frequently sprinkled with sea-water, to prevent its original tint
turning black instead of yellow. In addition to this net-work, the
nutmeg is covered with a thin, soft rind. The nutmeg itself is also
dried, then smoke-dried a little, and afterwards, to prevent its
turning mouldy, dipped several times in sea-water, containing a weak
solution of lime.
The clove-tree is somewhat smaller, and cannot boast of such
luxuriant foliage, or such fine large leaves as the nutmeg-tree.
The cloves are the buds of the tree gathered before they have had
time to blossom. They are first smoked, and then laid for a short
time in the sun.
Another kind of spice is the areca-nut, which hangs under the crown
of the palm of the same name, in groups containing from ten to
twenty nuts each.
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