If you’re a baker, you’re probably familiar with mace since it’s commonly found in cakes, cookies, and doughnuts. But if baking is not your thing, you may be unaware of what mace is and how versatile it can be. Learn more about what mace is and how it’s used.
What is mace?
Mace is a spice similar to nutmeg as it’s found on the lacy outer covering of the nutmeg seed. The mace spice is typically found in ground form but can be obtained whole (known as the mace blade) when the lacy aril is removed from the outer seed and slowly dried in natural sunlight. It’s yellowish-brown in color and is commonly described as a cross between cinnamon and pepper.
How is mace different from nutmeg?
Although mace and nutmeg are derived from the same tree (the tropical evergreen Myristica fragran), they are very different. Nutmeg is the pit of the fruit that grows on this tree, while mace is the covering on the seeds. Aside from which part of the fruit they are, they also differ in price and taste. Mace has a spicier, more intense flavor than nutmeg and is more comparable to black pepper.
Where does mace come from?
Since mace is grown on a tropical evergreen, it’s found in many tropical regions like the Caribbean and South America. However, its primary origin is Indonesia and can be found in China and Sri Lanka as well.
How is mace used?
This aromatic and pungent spice can be used in a mix of sweet and savory dishes. It’s often found alongside other warming spices like ginger, cloves, and cinnamon, making it perfect for doughnuts, oatmeal cookies, pumpkin spice treats, and puddings. Sri Lankan mace pairs well with cherries, so consider adding it to your next pie or custard.
For those who prefer savory dishes over sweet, you can add mace to curries and stews, but you don’t have to stop there. Ground mace works well in creamy sauces like Béchamel, as well as chili and mole. You can also use it for seasoning shellfish and red meat.
How do you grind mace?
When you want to get as much flavor as possible from the mace spice, you should buy whole blade mace and grind it yourself. There are a few different ways you can grind mace, including a mortar and pestle, spice mill grinder, coffee grinder, or a bag and mallet.
But before you start the grinding process, you should lightly toast the mace. Heat your whole mace blade in a skillet on medium for 2 to 3 minutes. Make sure you keep a close eye on your mace and spread it around with a wooden spoon so you don’t over toast them. Then, let the toasted mace blades cool a little before you start grinding.
Are there health benefits of mace?
Spices often possess many health benefits, and mace is no different. When you add mace to your meals, it can:
- Improve your digestion
- Boost blood flow
- Protect your kidneys
- Relieve stress
- Help alleviate cold and flu symptoms