General Description

The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans, is special in that it produces two seperate spices, nutmeg and Mace. Mace is the ground outer covering (aril) of the nutmeg seed. A piece of unground Mace is called a blade.

Geographical Sources

Indonesia and Grenada.

Traditional Ethnic Uses

Mace is most popular in European foods where it is used in both savory and sweet dishes. It is the dominant flavor in doughnuts.

Taste and Aroma Description

Mace has a flavor and aroma similar to nutmeg, with slightly more pungency.

History/Region of Origin

Mace is indigenous to the Molucca Islands. There are both male and female trees and they are planted in a ratio of about 1 male tree for every 10 female trees. The Portuguese controlled the Mace trade until they were driven out by the Dutch in 1602. At one point the price of Mace was so high and nutmeg so low that one Dutch official, unaware that Mace and nutmeg came from the same tree, ordered growers to burn nutmeg trees and grow more Mace.

Storage Tips

Store in cool, dark, dry places.

A Few Ideas to Get You Started

One teaspoon ground Mace can be substituted for 1 tablespoon Mace blades. Mace lends a warm, fragrant, old-world spiciness to many baked goods and sweets. You can also use it in an array of savory favorites, such as pates, creamed spinach, and mashed potatoes. It enlivens vegetables or macaroni and cheese. Try 1/8 teaspoon for 4 servings. Sprinkle on fruits, whipped cream, or anything chocolate. Mace can also be substituted for nutmeg.