The nutmeg tree is the only tropical fruit that is the source of two different spices, mace and nutmeg. Mace is the dried lacy reddish covering or aril of the seed. The first harvest of nutmeg trees takes place 7–9 years after planting, and the trees reach full production after 20 years. Nutmeg and mace have similar sensory qualities but mace is often preferred in light dishes for the bright orange, saffron-like hue it imparts.
Use Mace with a blend of spices to make outstanding grilled fries, in turkey and wild rice, bread puddings, oatmeal cookies, homemade doughnuts, scalloped potatoes and potato casseroles, and pickled green tomatoes. If you haven’t used mace before, you’ll be surprised just how many dishes utilize its flavor.