Home » Food Info » Mace vs Nutmeg – Are Mace Spice and Nutmeg The Same?

Mace vs Nutmeg – Are Mace Spice and Nutmeg The Same?

Last Updated on April 8, 2024

Are you afraid of getting confused between mace and nutmeg? Do you want to learn what makes them distinct from each other? In this article, we’ll compare the key differences between these two side by side – look so alike yet have some unique differences. You’re about to learn why these two are both essential for a well-stocked kitchen!

difference between mace and nutmeg

Difference Between Mace and Nutmeg

They are two spice blends that come from the same tree (nutmeg tree) in Banda Islands, IndonesiaWhole nutmeg seed is an oval-shaped pit that comes from the seeds of Myristica fragrans trees.

The taste is sweet and warm with a fragrant aroma and ground nutmeg often used in baking and savory dishes like sauces and stews. 

three forms

In contrast, whole mace is the red outer covering (aril) of the nutmeg seed and has a lighter and sweeter flavor than nutmeg. This spice is commonly used in sweet dishes like cakes, cookies, and custards.

When using these spices, it’s crucial to remember that their flavor profile and intensity can differ depending on the origin and growing conditions. So, if your recipe calls specifically for nutmeg or mace, it’s best to use that spice to achieve the intended flavor.

How To Substitute Nutmeg for Mace

Mace spice has a flavor similar to that of nutmeg in culinary use, which means they can be used interchangeably at a 1:1 ratio.

Origin of Nutmeg and Mace Uses

These two spices have a long history of use in foodmedicine, and rituals. Ancient Egyptians and Romans used mace to flavor sauces, perfumes, and medicines. It was also thought to have magical properties and was used in love potions and protective charms.

On the other hand, in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, people use nutmeg to treat digestive issues, arthritis, and menstrual cramps.

It was also a sought-after spice during the Middle Ages and was believed to have protective qualities against the plague.

Today, both mace and nutmeg are widely used in cooking for their unique flavor and aroma. While they are similar in taste, mace has a slightly more delicate and sweeter flavor than nutmeg. 

Culinary Uses – Nutmeg or Mace?

Nutmeg is a more common spice with a warm and sweet taste often used for baking, stews, and soups. Its flavor profile is also effective in savory dishes (e.g. Potatoes Au Gratin).

Sccop out Vegan-Potato-Bake

Mace is less common and has a more delicate, floral, and subtle flavor than nutmeg. It has a lighter color than nutmeg and is commonly used in sweet and savory dishes like custards and sauces.

When using, it’s important to use sparingly due to their potency. If used in excess, they may overpower the dish and cause bitterness.

In order to get the most flavor out of mace and nutmeg, it’s best to use a spice grinder or microplane to grate them freshly over your dishes.

sprinkling spice into the dish

Health Benefits of Two Spices

Both of them come from the nutmeg fruit tree and they have distinct flavor profiles and health benefits.

Mace has a more delicate and subtle flavor than nutmeg, with hints of cinnamon and clove. It is a rich source of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins A, C, and B6. It also contains essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron.

It has anti-inflammatory properties that can help in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Mace is also known to aid digestion and can act as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety.

Nutmeg, on the other hand, has a more pungent and distinctive flavor than mace. It is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and essential minerals like magnesium, copper, and iron.

It has a calming effect on the body and can help in reducing stress and anxiety. It also has antibacterial properties and can be used to treat dental problems like bad breath and gum inflammation.

Both have unique health benefits and can be used in a variety of dishes to enhance their flavor and nutritional value.

(Source: Mace and Nutmeg from rxlist.com)

Nutritional Benefit Comparison

what does it look like?

Here are the nutrition facts for both the spices:

– Rich in antioxidants that help to fight inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
– High in minerals like copper, potassium, and calcium that help in nerve, muscle, and brain function.
– Contains Vitamin A, essential for maintaining healthy skin, eyes, and immunity.

– Contains antioxidants that improve digestion and reduce inflammation.
– Contains minerals like magnesium, zinc, and potassium that support overall health.
– Contains vitamin B-complex, which helps in the proper functioning of the nervous system.

Both spices have their unique benefits, but mace is a clear winner in terms of higher nutritional value.

(Source: WebMD)

Side Effects and Precautions of Mace and Nutmeg

whole vs ground spice

They are commonly used spices in the culinary world, but they also possess several medicinal properties.

However, consuming them in excessive amounts may result in a few side effects and hence require certain precautions.

Side Effects of Mace and Nutmeg:

1. Hallucinations and Agitation: High doses of mace and nutmeg can cause hallucinations, paranoia, and agitation.

2. Nausea and Vomiting: Consuming large quantities of mace and nutmeg can cause nausea and vomiting. It may also lead to stomach cramps and diarrhea.

3. Allergic Reactions: Individuals with a history of allergies may experience rashes, hives, or difficulty breathing after consuming mace or nutmeg.

Note: Always consume mace and nutmeg in moderation to avoid any side effects.

(Source: Webmd.com)

In A Nutshell…

In a nutshell, they are two spices that originate from the same fruit, but have different properties and uses in cooking. Nutmeg has a spicier flavor, intense flavor, and aroma, while mace is milder and sweeter. It is commonly used in sweet dishes like custards and cakes, while mace is often used in savory dishes like stews and soups.

Both spices have medicinal properties and can aid in digestion, fight inflammation, and improve circulation.

When it comes to storage, whole nutmeg lasts longer than mace, which can quickly lose its flavor and aroma.

So, the choice between mace and nutmeg depends on one’s preference and the type of dish being prepared.

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