Mace is the lace like placenta that surrounds the nutmeg within the fruit. The lines and wrinkles on a nutmeg show where the mace was lying against the nut. Although indigenous to Indonesia, mace is now found in most spice growing areas. Both mace and nutmeg have the botanical name of Myristica fragrens, indicating the fragrant value of the volatile oils they contain. These oils are narcotic and poisonous in large quantities!
Mace may be bought as ground or whole blade mace, and more rarely, complete with the nutmeg it encloses. Unsurprisingly the flavour of mace is similar, but more pungent than that of nutmeg. The flavour of mace could also be described as slightly finer and fresher than nutmeg and is used in savoury dishes more than sweet.
Ways to use mace :
- Ground and added to a spice mix for a cake.
- Included in garam masala, or curry powder.
- A whole blade included with peppercorns and a bay leaf to infuse milk for a white sauce.
- Added to a poaching court-bullion for fish or seafood.
- Include in the pickling liquor for onions or gherkins.