What Is Mace?


What is mace? That is a great question to ask at a culinary trivia event. It is Myristica fragrans. It is a plant that grows in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Mace is actually the dried outer shell of a nut. It is the net-like membrane (arvil) that surrounds the shell of the nutmeg. It can be bought whole or ground.

Mace is an exotic spice with a strong nutmeg flavour, considering mace is the outer shell of nutmeg. Mace can be used whole, in soups and casseroles, with pork, veal, or sausages, or it can be used ground, for example in meat loaf, pate, or with minced beef.  It is often sprinkled on milk puddings, or used in fruit cakes. It is FDA approved as a spice and for flavoring foods. It is used in pickling, stews, and baked goods. The East Indian mace is a brighter orange in colour, and has a higher essential oil content, and richer flavour than the West Indian mace.   It is often used in herbal crafts such as in a  potpourri.

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