Mace, Myristica fragrans of the family Myristicaceae, is the lacy outer layer encircling a whole nutmeg seed. This spice is a spunkier version of nutmeg; this spice is the dried, ground reddish skin that covers the nutmeg seed. Generally sold ground, but sometimes the whole “blade” is available.
Mace has a slightly warm taste and a fragrance similar to nutmeg. It is used to flavor bakery, meat, fish dishes, sauces, vegetables, preserves, and pickles.
This outer layer can be removed, dried, and used as a spice. The crimson-colored aril is removed from the nutmeg that it envelops and is flattened out and dried for 10 to 14 days, and its color changes to pale yellow, orange, or tan. Whole dry mace consists of flat pieces—branched or segmented, smooth, horny, and brittle—a little over one-half inches long.
If you don’t have mace, substitute 1 tsp ground mace with:
Try substituting nutmeg! Nutmeg is the seed of the fruit of the nutmeg tree. It is mostly used as a spice and a flavoring in cooking – and makes a great substitute for mace.
Nutmeg is used in small amounts to flavor dishes such as eggnog, pumpkin pie, mulled cider or coffee, sauces for meat or game and soups. It can also be added in small quantities to tomato juice to enhance the flavor of tomato juice, especially when served with cheese or eggs.
Nutmeg was once an important spice due to its medicinal properties, but today it is used more often as part of larger dishes.
Nutmeg has a sweet-spicy flavor that is similar to mace (which comes from dried nutmeg), but less pungent than mace. Nutmeg is sometimes used as a replacement for mace because it has a much longer shelf life (about two years). This makes it easier for companies to sell ground nutmeg instead of just whole nutmegs like they do with mace.
= 1 tsp ground nutmeg (milder aroma)
Another good mace substitute is Allspice. Allspice is an aromatic spice of the genus Pimenta, a relative of the bay laurel, native to the West Indian islands of Jamaica and Grenada. The name “allspice” was coined by the English, who thought it combined the flavour of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. It is also sometimes referred to as newspice and pimento.
Allspice is used in pickling and for meats and vegetables; it is also a major ingredient in most commercial sausage stuffings. Allspice is a common ingredient in Caribbean cuisine, particularly Jamaican cuisine (Jerk chicken or pork), Latin American cuisine (Colombian Empanadas), and Middle Eastern cuisine (turkey stuffing).
The essential oil contains several chemical compounds which contribute to its flavor.
In its fresh green state, allspice has no flavor resembling either black pepper or nutmeg at all; however, once dried, it develops into a spice with a very warm aroma reminiscent of both cloves and cinnamon. It has been described as tasting like a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, orange peel and pepper; some say there are undertones of chamomile or cumin in there as well
= 1 tsp ground allspice
3. Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice is a mixture of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The term may also refer to pumpkin pie spice or mixed spice, a similar mix used in pumpkin pie and other pies.
The flavor of apple pie spice is predominantly sweet with notes of cinnamon and cloves. Nutmeg lends warmth to the aroma and flavor while cloves add an earthiness that’s reminiscent of allspice.
Apple pie spice can be found in many recipes, including cakes, cookies, breads and muffins. You can also find it in some versions of mulled wine or spiced cider mixes. It’s also popularly used in homemade pork sausage seasoning and stuffing mixes because it adds sweetness to the meat without masking its natural flavor.
= 1 tsp apple pie spice (combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice)
You can also try substituting cinnamon. Cinnamon is a spice that’s been used for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians used it in embalming mummies, and the Chinese considered cinnamon a symbol of happiness. Today, you’ll find cinnamon in everything from baked goods to perfumes.
In its pure form, cinnamon is made from the dried inner bark of an evergreen tree called Cinnamomum zeylanicum. It’s harvested by cutting the bark into thin strips, which are then rolled into cylinders called quills or sticks. These are dried until they’re brittle and brownish-red in color.
The most common types of cinnamon are cassia (also called Chinese cinnamon) and Ceylon (also called true cinnamon). Cassia has a stronger flavor than Ceylon and is often used in baking recipes instead of Ceylon because it imparts more heat and aromatic oils than Ceylon does when cooked at high temperatures.
= 1 tsp ground cinnamon
Using Mace in Recipes
As a spice, mace doesn’t get a lot of attention. Mace is lighter, subtler, and sweeter than nutmeg. Imagine a cross between nutmeg and coriander, tinged with citrus and cinnamon. Its aroma has properties that nutmeg, mint, and basil share.
As a lighter spice, mace is perfect where nutmeg would be too heavy. Use mace to flavor fruit of all kinds, white-fleshed fish, chicken, more lightweight dairy applications, pork, cookies, cream soups, root vegetables, and anything with a tart element. Mace brings a depth of spice with a hint of floral to elevate the dish’s flavor.
Consider replacing nutmeg with mace in pastry to complement butter and cream all the better. Add mace for a fine addition to your evening cocktail featuring floral whiskies.
Many cooks recommend using blades of mace and grinding for use. Mace is all about resonance disguised as a delicacy, and pre-ground versions will lose that disguise quickly, leaving you with an inferior nutmeg powder.
Health Benefits of Mace
Regularly consuming mace spice has health benefits. Mace is used in Asian cultures to treat pain, nausea, and digestive issues, and it may relieve bloating, constipation, and gas-related problems. In addition, there are reports that mace may also be suitable for regulating bowel movements.
What is the difference between nutmeg and mace?
Nutmeg is the seed found inside the tree’s ripe fruit, and the lacy membrane that surrounds the seed, once removed and dried, is mace. The flavor and aroma of nutmeg are delicately warm, spicy, and sweet, and mace is lighter, subtler, and sweeter than nutmeg.
In what types of foods can I use mace?
Use mace to flavor fruit of all kinds, white-fleshed fish, chicken, lighter dairy applications, pork, cookies, cream soups, root vegetables, and anything with a tart element. Mace brings a depth of spice with a hint of floral to elevate the flavor of the dish
What are the health benefits of mace?
Mace is used in Asian cultures to treat pain, nausea, and digestive issues, and it may relieve bloating, constipation, and gas-related problems. In addition, there are reports that mace may also be suitable for regulating bowel movements.