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Culinary Mace

Becky Johnson


Mace is a “sibling” of nutmeg.  The two spices are from the same tree Myristica fragrans, a large evergreen tree native to the Moluccas Islands and the East Indies.  Nutmeg is the fruit of the tree and mace is the red finger-like sheath or “aril” that covers the nutmeg.  Nutmeg can be dried and ground or left whole. The “blades” or mace is sold in pieces but more commonly is ground as it is very tough to grind manually.

In large doses, raw nutmeg has some poisonous effects, but in small quantities it is safe for cooking.

Mace’s flavor is a cross between cinnamon and coriander seed or pepper, and is very pungent.  You’ll find mace in many vintage baking recipes, but you’ll also see it in Indian, Caribbean and Middle Eastern cuisine.  In Scotland, mace and nutmeg are usually both ingredients in haggis.

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