Friday, January 25, 2008


While going through old cookbooks that I have inherited or have bought on Ebay, I've been coming across a certain ingredient. Mace. It has been referenced as a “dash of mace.” Never listed in the ingredients, just placed somewhere randomly in the recipe. What is this mystery ingredient that must stand alone I have been asking myself? Then Martha Stewart briefly mentioned it on her show one day after the Christmas break. What is going on? Why mace all of a sudden? I assumed it had something to do with nutmeg, but I knew nothing about it. I’m sure the rest of you out there know all about mace, but I wanted to find out more information. So I did want anyone else would do, I looked it up on the Internet.
Mace is the lacy reddish outer covering on the nutmeg. It is dried and becomes yellowish-brown, and sold in whole pieces called blades or ground, and the color can often help you determine its origin. Orange-yellow blades most likely come from Grenada, while orange-red blades tend to be from Indonesia. Unlike most spices, ground mace has a longer shelf-life when stored properly. It is used in place of nutmeg when you do not really want to see dark brown specks in your dish. It is typically used in pound cake, cakes, cookies, coffee cakes, brownies, nut breads, Danish pastries, fruit pies, steamed pudding or puddings. Sometimes on fish or poultry dishes such as creamed chicken or turkey. You can add it to spinach, carrots, asparagus, sweet potatoes and yellow vegetables. Mace and nutmeg are the only spices that come from the same tree, a large evergreen tree native to the Moluccas Islands and the East Indian Archipelago.
So now we all know. Maybe one day I will buy a jar of mace and make a good recipe from one of my vintage cookbooks.


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