Mace Spice (Myristica fragrans)
Mace Spice comes from the same kernel as nutmeg. Nutmeg is the seed and mace is the red coloured aril that covers the seed. Mace has a stronger aroma than that of nutmeg and has a warm flavour which is quite pleasant. This spice generally is more expensive to buy than that of nutmeg as it is also rich in essential oils.
Once the nutmeg kernels are ripe they are harvested. The outer case of the kernel is removed. Then the red coloured outer layer that covers the nutmeg seed is gently peeled off. This is the mace spice. It is then flattened out and dried under the sun from 5 days anywhere up to 2 weeks. Once the mace has changed colour to amber or a light orange colour, it is then ready to be packed whole or ground to a powder.
You can find mace spice readily available online. You can buy this spice either whole (mace blades) or as the ground powdered form. It usually comes in a bottle or jar that is handy for the spice rack and is a great spice to have in the kitchen. A word of note - ground mace does not store well over time.
Mace is used in cooking all over the world. It adds delicious flavour to food and enhances the colour of food, adding an amber tone. This spice goes really well with a wide variety of foods. When ground it is fantastic with fish, meats, stews, sauces, vegetables and soups.
Mace can also be used in sweeter foods. It is popular in the making of pastries, cakes and even doughnuts.There are some great recipes out there to try - you may even be quite surprised with the results!
Mace is also used as a spice that mixes well with other spices. Its flavour can really compliment other aromatic flavours. A classic example of this is the garam masala spice blend.
For me, I like to make a tasty carrot soup using Mace amongst other ingredients. It is simple to make and is delicious with some fresh bread.
Serves 4 people
4 large carrots peeled and then chopped
1 large onion diced
1 stalk celery trimmed and then chopped, keep the leafy part
2 large cloves of garlic chopped fine
1 litre of chicken stock
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon powdered Mace
1/8 teaspoon powdered Ginger
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Get a large pan and put it on a medium to high heat. Then add the oil. Once hot add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until soft, then add the garlic and stir. Now add the carrots and the celery and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the Mace and the ginger, cook for another 2-3 minutes stirring the mixture all the time.
It’s time to add the chicken stock and bring it to the boil then turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Season to taste with the salt and pepper, Leave to cook until the carrots are nice and soft - around 10-15 minutes.
Once cooked either pour into a blender or use a stick blender and blend until smooth. Chop up the celery leaf, then serve the soup using the celery leaf to garnish.