Nutmeg is the large, light grayish brown, speckled, wood-hard kernel that grows inside the apricot-like fruit of a tropical tree (Myristica fragrans). Surrounding nutmeg in the fruit is a web of mace, called the aril, that is brilliant scarlet when harvested but changes to a dull reddish orange after drying. Both spices are strongly aromatic, with a warm and slightly musky flavour. Nutmeg is a bit spicier with a sharper aroma, while mace is gentler, fresher, and more rounded in flavour. Nutmeg quickly loses its fragrance when ground, so it’s best freshly grated. Whole nutmeg, though hard on its surface, is easy to grate by hand.
In the Arab world and northern India, nutmeg and mace flavour delicate meat dishes. In Europe and North America, these spices flavour cakes, crackers, poached fruits, and cheese sauces. The Dutch favour nutmeg, using it to season cabbage, potatoes, meat, soups, stews, and sauces. Mace complements seafood and lighter meat dishes as well as pickles and ketchup. Many spice mixtures contain nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg and mace can be used interchangeably in many dishes.
Grate fresh nutmeg into creamed or buttered spinach.
Grate nutmeg over steamed potatoes, winter squash, carrots, or cauliflower.
Flavour pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, and gingerbread with nutmeg.
Sprinkle mace on seafood before grilling or pan-frying.
Season stock with mace and use it to steam shellfish.
Sprinkle mace over applesauce and baked apples.
Category: Spices and Herbs
Sub Category: Spice