Nutmeg is a spice that is obtained from the fruit of the nutmeg tree that is found on many Indonesian islands. The same fruit that is the source of nutmeg is also the source of the spice mace. Nutmeg is obtained from the seed of the fruit while the mace is the red aril of the fruit that surrounds the nutmeg seed. The nutmeg is egg shaped and is about 20-30mm long and weighs about 5-10 grams. It is a dark brown nut with a hard shell. that is lightly wrinkled and lighter brown on the inside. The aril is a glossy red web that surrounds the seed.
Nutmeg has many different health benefits when taken in moderation. Nutmeg helps to ease digestion of food and is a good remedy for anxiety and depression. Because of its detoxifying functions, it helps to maintain the health of the liver and the kidney and ensures the cleanliness of body systems. Nutmeg also carries a great amount of potassium that is instrumental in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Mace has fewer calories than nutmeg but contains even more concentrations of vitamins A and C and essential oils. It is rich in iron and is thus good for encouraging red blood cell production.
Nutmeg is a spice that is used in a variety of cuisines. The Indian and European cuisines all include nutmeg in different ways. Although mace and nutmeg taste similar and have similar oil content and can often be used interchangeably, mace has a stronger flavour than nutmeg. Mace is often used to give a light saffron colour to dishes. In Indian cuisine, both mace and nutmeg are often used in small quantities in garam masala. The two spices are also used in baked dishes, potato dishes, soups and sauce in European cuisine.
Nutmeg can be bought both in whole or ground form. However, it is always more preferable to buy it whole so as to retain its aroma and flavour. It can then be grated into a powder when it is needed. The nutmeg should be compact and not have any blemishes on its exterior. It is always best to select organic nutmeg to ensure that it has not been irradiated. Mace can also be bought whole, sliced into blades or ground. Once again, it is best to buy whole or sliced mace over ground mace so as to retain the strong flavour of the spice without essential oils evaporating. Often, powdered mace is mixed with lower quality mace spices and are thus not the most optimal for consumption.
Both mace and nutmeg should be stored in dry, vacuum containers away from