mace

ground
4.8
based on 9 reviews
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2 oz
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Mace is the vermillion-colored aril (membranous seed-casing) of a nutmeg seed. This fleshy encasement is harvested from the seed's outer shell by hand. It is delicately and skillfully removed and then flattened, with care being taken not to tear its lacy fibers. It is then dried in one piece. Despite this precious ministering mace is most often used ground.

The taste of mace is lighter and more subtle than its biological companion, nutmeg. Its subtlety still allows for a complexity of flavor notes; and it has been likened to a combination of cinnamon and pepper with hints of citrus. In its ground form it can be found in a variety of spice blends including curry powders, garam masala, and the Moroccan blend ras el hanout. In the US, however, it is probably more commonly associated with fall flavors and pumpkin spice blends.
QUICK INFO
mace , ground
PLANT PART
aril
PROCESSING / FORM
ground
BOTANICAL NAME
Myristica fragrans
VOLUME
2 oz (57 g) per 1/2 cup
ORIGIN
Indonesia
BOTANICAL NAME
Myristica fragrans
AKA
mace
mace spice
Nutmeg is the kernel of the edible fruit of the Myristica fragrans tree. When fully mature the fruit will split in half to reveal a seed encased in a crimson-colored fleshy wrapper. This wrapper, called an aril, is dried (sometimes also ground) and is itself used as the spice called mace. The seed and aril are collected together, then separated so that the mace can be flattened out and sun-dried. The kernels too are left in the sun to dry until the kernel within the hard seed coat pulls away from its housing and rattles when shaken. The seed is then broken and the nutmeg kernel is retrieved.

This tropical evergreen is a prodigious producer, it can yield up to 20,000 nutmeg seeds in a season and can live up to 100 years. It is native to the Moluccas (aka Spice Islands) and is still mainly cultivated there and areas surrounding there. As with so many spices, ownership and cultivation of nutmeg became a contention between with the Dutch and English in the 1600s. This struggle embroiled the region, and other areas of the globe, with violent skirmishes and attempts at peace for 60 years. This tension and warfare ultimately culminated in the Treaty of Breda in 1664. If the treaty is unfamiliar the outcome won't be. The treaty featured a swap compromise: control of the islands went to the Dutch; control of a fur-trading post in the new world went to the English, who renamed this claimed land Manhattan.

At the time the Dutch capitalized on their spice holdings by banning export of the trees, and drenching seeds in lime to ensure infertility before shipping them off the islands. They further ensured their monopoly by not only hiding the location of the island but by slaughtering locals by the hundreds to discourage unsanctioned trade. In 1769 a French horticulturist was able to successfully smuggle out and replant nutmeg trees, thus ending the monopoly.
USAGE HINT

Although they’re part of the same fruit of the nutmeg tree, mace and nutmeg do not taste well together. They can, however, be substituted for one another.

QUICK FACT

The defensive spray called Mace is NOT from the nutmeg tree. Mace defensive spray is a form of tear gas used as an irritant, developed and produced by Mace International.

 
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REVIEWS (9)