The main difference between mace and nutmeg is that mace has a more intense, spicier flavour than nutmeg.
Although we consider nutmeg and mace as two spices, they come from the same tree. Nutmeg is the oval-shaped pit while mace is the red webbing that surrounds the shell of the pit. These two spices are not usually used together. However, they can be used as substitutes for each other.
Key Terms Covered
What is Mace
Mace is a yellowish-brown spice we obtain from the reddish seed covering of the nutmeg seed. It’s available as dried blades and also in ground form. The ground form is the most common form as most recipes call for it. We often pair mace with other aromatic spices. Mace has a flavour similar to nutmeg, but it’s more intense than nutmeg. It’s also said to have notes of cinnamon and black pepper. Mace is more prominently used in Asian, Caribbean, and Moroccan cuisines. It’s common in spice blends, baked goods, and also in savoury dishes like sauces and soups. We also use it in pickling and preserving.
When processing mace, the red aril is removed from the nutmeg seed and is flattened out and dried for 10 to 14 days. The colour of mace can change to light yellow, orange, or tan. The colour of mace can often help determine its origin. For example, orange-red mace is more likely to come from Indonesia, while orange-yellow mace is more likely to come from Grenada. Although mace is not well-known or indispensable as nutmeg, it is more expensive than mace.
What is Nutmeg
Nutmeg is a spice made from the nutmeg seed. This seed comes from the nutmeg tree or Myristica fragrant, is a native Indonesian evergreen tree, which also gives rise to mace. As mentioned above, nutmeg is the oval-shaped seed while mace is the red webbing that surrounds the shell of the seed. Compared to mace, nutmeg has a sweeter, milder and more delicate taste.
You can buy nutmegs as whole seeds or in the ground form. Seeds have a longer shelf life than the ground form. Moreover, grating the seed directly into a recipe will give a fresher and cleaner taste than using ground nutmegs.
Furthermore, nutmegs have a long culinary history. They can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s especially used in many autumn recipes like pumpkin pies. It’s also a traditional ingredient in eggnogs and mulled cider. Moreover, it’s also a part of spice blends like Indian garam masala.
Difference Between Mace and Nutmeg
Mace is a yellowish-brown spice we obtain from the reddish seed covering of the nutmeg seed while nutmeg is a popular spice made from the nutmeg seed.
Mace is the red webbing that surrounds the shell of the seed while nutmeg is the oval-shaped seed of the nutmeg tree.
Nutmeg has a sweeter, milder and more delicate taste than mace.
Mace is usually more expensive than nutmeg.
Moreover, mace is available as dried blades and in ground form while nutmeg is available as whole seeds or in the ground form.
Mace is the red webbing that surrounds the shell of the seed while nutmeg is the oval-shaped seed of the nutmeg tree. Nutmeg has a sweeter, milder and more delicate taste than mace, which is more intense. Thus, this is the main difference between mace and nutmeg.
1. Moncel, Bethany. “Learn All About Nutmeg and How to Use It.” The Spruce Eats, Available here.