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Can You Get Mace From Whole Nutmeg

Slofoodgroup Team June 04, 2022

While mace and nutmeg are different parts of the same plant and share similar flavor properties, they are not the same exact thing in terms of composition nor spice profile . The whole nutmeg is the seed of the Myristica Fragrance tree, but that seed is protected by a fleshy outer covering, called an aril, or in this case, mace blade. As such, it is a very commonsense pondering as to whether or not one might be able to source mace from whole nutmeg.  To fully answer that particular question, we need to first consider a few other questions.

Can You Find Nutmeg with the Blade of Mace Attached?

The simple answer is yes, but it really depends on how hard you search. Of course, if you somehow found yourself near a Myristica Fragrans tree, while the fruit was ripe, you could harvest the fruit and extract all parts of the seed—mace and nutmeg included. Unfortunately, most of the global population will never have that opportunity. However, there are other ways one can source whole nutmeg with mace. Some specialty spice shops may carry attached mace and nutmeg, but even that is a rare occurrence. Of course, as with just about anything our minds can conjure, finding nutmeg with the mace blade still connected is quite possible, it’s just a matter of whether you know why you would want it that way.

Why is Mace Blade Removed From Nutmeg?

Asking why mace blade is removed from nutmeg is like asking why dried kidney beans are removed from their pods, or why wheatberries are removed from their protective sheath. Are we capable of doing it ourselves? Of course we are; yet still, we have evolved into a population that is mostly “on-the-go” and embraces anything that has been made more convenient. For culinary purposes, this is especially true when we don’t have to sacrifice any flavor or textural properties to enjoy such conveniences. 

I know, I know; you are probably thinking to yourself, “but those aren’t good metaphors because no one wants the wheat sheathing or the kidney bean pods”. That is a valid point. However, for convenience sake, it is even easier to find mace and nutmeg already separated than it is to buy in tact and the separation into your own hands. 

Besides that, it isn’t even as simple as removing the mace from the nutmeg seed. You see, the nutmeg seed is the innermost part of several layers underneath the flesh of the  nutmeg fruit. The mace blade encapsulates the seed, but the two do not directly connect. In between is another layer—a thin, bark-like protective shell. That means even if you are able to source nutmeg with attached blade of mace, your prep time will definitely be extended, so you might want to think twice before you purchase. . 

Is it Better to Keep Mace Blade and Nutmeg Attached?

Like most culinary ingredients, the more nutmeg is tampered with, the less fresh it will become. That being said, both mace and nutmeg, when dried in their whole form maintain their flavor for quite a long time as it is. So unless you are planning on buying a pound of whole mace and letting it sit on your shelves for years, aside from aesthetic appeal, you aren’t missing a thing by purchasing them already separated.

Check out our online spice shop to  find  both whole nutmeg and dried mace blade.