Mace comes from the same tree as the better known spice – Nutmeg. Nutmeg isn’t actually a nut, but the kernel of an apricot-like fruit. Mace is the second spice of this tree and is an aril or thin lacy covering of the nutmeg seed or fruit. Indigenous to the Banda Islands (one of the Spice Islands), the nutmeg tree is a large evergreen that grows up to 60 feet tall. The tree produces “fruit” starting in its seventh year and may continue through its 90th year. The “fruits” are harvested using long poles with nets on the end and then the Mace is separated from the inner nutmeg seed.
The aroma of Mace is mildly nutty, sweet and warm while the flavor is warm, aromatic with hints of lemony sweetness -similar to nutmeg, yet more delicate. Mace and nutmeg are often substituted for one another but we prefer mace when the dish requires a lighter flavoring and to preserve the delicate color of a dish.
When surrounding the nutmeg kernel Mace is bright scarlet red in color. Once it is peeled from the seed and dried the color turns to a dull orange-yellow or orange-red. If the Mace is kept whole it is called a blade and used to flavor soups, stews and wine mulling blends but it should be removed before serving.
Urban Platter – Simply Good Food! 🙂