Small tools used to turn the whole nutmeg seed into a coarse powder. A nutmeg grater has a fine-rasp, slightly curved surface. The grating is accomplished by rubbing the nutmeg across the grater's surface. Many graters store the whole nutmegs in containers attached to the bottom or back of the unit. A nutmeg grinder resembles a pepper grinder, except the cavity is designed specifically to hold a whole nutmeg with a small 4-pronged plate at the end of a central, spring-mounted post. The spring serves to keep downward pressure on the nutmeg, forcing it into a sharp blade that, when the crank is rotated, grates the nutmeg.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.