Mace spice is obtained from the aril, a red lacy coating that envelops the nutmeg.
Myristica fragrans, or nutmeg tree, is a tropical evergreen native to the Moluccas in Indonesia. This archipelago is also called the Spice Islands.
This yellowish-brown spice with a sweet and warm taste is very similar to the aroma of nutmeg, but it is less intense and less sweet.
When the fruit of the nutmeg tree reaches maturity, it splits open to reveal a red lacy coating and seeds.
The aril is removed from the hand-picked fruit. It is then left to dry for up to fourteen days.
The dried aril changes color and becomes orange-brown or amber-yellow. If left whole, it is called a blade of mace, and the ground dried aril is mace spice.
By the color of the mace spice, it can be determined which species the nutmeg tree belongs to.
If the blades of mace are orange-red, you can immediately conclude that they are from the fruits of a species grown in Indonesia.
If they are orange-yellow, they are from trees grown on the Caribbean islands, primarily in Grenada, where the largest Caribbean production of this spice is.
Nutmeg is so popular and important in Grenada that it is also on the flag of this country as a symbol.
In stores, mace spice is often sold as a ground spice, but it is better to buy it as a blade of mace and grind it as needed because the aromas will be preserved longer.
Blade of mace are easy to grind, and if you toast it just before grinding, you will wake up the essential oils and get a spice with a more intense aroma.
The nutmeg tree is usually grown in tropical regions and is found in that belt from China to Sri Lanka, South America, and the Caribbean.
In Europe, the aroma of mace spice has been known since the 12th century, and it was only four centuries later it became available worldwide when the spice trade expanded.
Mace spice is found in many spice mixes, the most famous of which are: garam masala and ras el hanout.
Mace spice is used in many soups, sauces, soufflés, steamed dishes, or as a flavor addition to rice.
In addition, this spice is used in various creams, cakes, and doughnuts in bakery products. Mace will add an even more enticing aroma to delicacies with cherries and chocolate.
Nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and cumin can be used as a substitute for mace spices. And a great alternative to mace spice is one of the spice mixes.
Some contain mace spice as an ingredient; in others, the main ingredients are spices that are on our suggestions for replacing mace spice.
Nutmeg is the simplest substitute for mace in a recipe because its flavors differ slightly in strength and sweetness.
Both of these spices are obtained from the fruit of the nutmeg tree. Nutmeg is a seed; a mace is obtained from the dried coating surrounding the seed.
Nutmeg tree seeds are used as a spice for obtaining essential oils and nutmeg butter.
The essential oil is often used as a natural aroma in the baking industry because its use avoids the visible particles that would remain after using the ground nutmeg spice. In addition, this essential oil is completely colorless.
Nutmeg is obtained by removing the aril red covering from the seed, which is used to make mace spice, and then drying it in the sun for about eight weeks.
The inside of the seed shrinks as it dries, and when completely dry, it separates from the hard shell and rattles when the seed is shaken. The hard shell is then broken, and the nutmeg is extracted.
Nutmeg can be found in stores whole, but it is most often sold ground.
In Indonesia, nutmeg is used to prepare many spicy soups or sauces for meat dishes. In India, it is also used to prepare sweet treats and savory dishes.
Europeans traditionally use nutmeg in potato dishes or as a spice in sausages and other meat products.
Also, in European cuisine, this spice is used in soups, stews, sauces, or as a spice for various bakery products.
The Dutch add nutmeg to beans, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts; in Scotland, it is a mandatory spice for the national dish made of sheep offal.
Ginger is a great substitute for mace in cooking. This perennial herbaceous plant has long been known for its medicinal properties and the aroma and tastes it develops it adds.
That is why it has always been used as a spice and folk medicine.
In tropical Asia, ginger has been cultivated for more than three thousand years.
Only the rhizome is used from the plant, which is fleshy and light yellow in the cross-section. Ginger contains essential oils, starch, and resins.
Ginger has a pleasant smell, and the taste is spicy and sharp. Fresh, dried, powdered juice or oil can be used.
In Asian cuisines, it is used to prepare savory dishes, while in Europe, it is mostly used for sweet dishes.
Ginger has many medicinal properties because it contains the bioactive compound gingerol.
In addition to gingerol, ginger contains several other natural oils, so it is no wonder that it is considered one of the most healing herbs.
That’s why ginger has always been equally used in traditional and alternative medicine.
Gingerol has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Eating just a little more than one gram of ginger can prevent nausea resulting from chemotherapy.
Ginger successfully lowers blood sugar levels, improves digestion, and lowers cholesterol.
Ginger has antibacterial properties, successfully fighting viruses and reducing the risk of infections.
Ras el Hanout
Spice blend Ras el Hanout is very popular in Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria.
The translation of the name of this spice from Arabic means “head of the shop.”
According to some interpretations, this name for the spice best explains its composition because it should mean that in the mixture, you will get the best spices found in that place.
Compiled in this almost arbitrary way, this mixture never has an exact composition of spices, but the spices that are indispensable in ras el hanout are known, namely: mace, nutmeg, cardamom, cumin, clove, cinnamon, allspice, dry ginger, coriander seed, and dry turmeric.
Most often, the mixture contains spices specific to the region in which the ras el hanout mixture is made, so in some local variants, you can find the following ingredients: grains of paradise, monk’s pepper, dried rosebud, cubebs, orris root, ash berries, galangal, chufa, fennel seed, long pepper, and aniseed.
This blend of spices is particularly famous because many aphrodisiacs are often used as secret ingredients.
Allspice is obtained from the dried berries of the Pimenta dioica tree, native to Jamaica.
It got its name from the characteristic flavor that combines the aromas of cinnamon, pepper, nutmeg, and cloves.
Allspice is used in Caribbean, Latin American, and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Whole berries can be used and can be found as a powdered spices. Whole allspice berries are often used for pickling and brining, or in stews and soups, and ground in sweet dishes such as various pies, cakes, or tarts.
Whole allspice berries are added to meats such as beef or lamb in the same way that cloves or garlic are used to prepare these dishes.
Allspice powder is added to dishes, usually during cooking or baking.
Allspice powder is a great substitute for allspice in pastries, soups, stews, or stews.
Cinnamon could be a good mace spice alternative. Cinnamon is obtained from the bark of Cinnamomum trees.
The cinnamon type depends on the tree from which the bark is obtained. Unfortunately, only a few species of Cinnamomum trees are grown commercially.
Cinnamomum verum or Ceylon cinnamon is considered true cinnamon, but four other types are most commonly found in stores: Indonesian cinnamon, Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon, Chinese cinnamon, and Malabar cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon sticks are much softer than other types of cinnamon and have many thin layers.
Cinnamon has always been a highly valued spice. In some cultures, it was considered a gift for monarchs or even a gift for a deity.
There are written testimonies from ancient Greece about the offering of cinnamon to Apollo in the temple of Miletus.
Cinnamon is traditionally used in Portuguese and Turkish cuisine to prepare savory and sweet dishes, while in Mexico, it is used to prepare the chocolate.
In Europe, it is used in the bakery industry but also the preparation of lamb and chicken dishes.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon, to which allspice is sometimes added.
Pumpkin pie spice is a great alternative to mace in all recipes.
The aromas of this spice mix are profiled to evoke warm emotions and memories of autumn.
Cardamom is a sweet spice with a strong taste and aroma of citrus and mint.
Cardamom is obtained from the pods of various plants in the ginger family.
Whole pods, seeds, or ground pods and seeds are used, depending on the recipe.
Depending on their species, the pods differ in color and size, and the seeds are small and black.
Cardamom is used to prepare savory and sweet dishes. This spice is a good substitute for mace in recipes.
In garam masala, cardamom is one of the main spices used.
Cardamom is traditionally used in Arabic, Indian, Swedish, and Middle Eastern cuisine.
In Nordic and Middle Eastern cuisine, green cardamom is most often used.
This type of cardamom is also known as true cardamom, and there is also a variant of bleached green cardamom. White cardamom has a weaker aroma.
In India and Asia, another type of this spice, black cardamom, is used along with green cardamom.
Black cardamom has larger pods that are dark brown. This type of cardamom is grown in the eastern Himalayas.
Black cardamom has a smoky aroma.
Apple Pie Spice
Apple pie spice is a blend of several spices.
It usually contains nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.
Depending on the manufacturer, this mixture can be more complex, as some add cardamom and ginger.
Cloves powder is a spice that has a sharp taste and can be used in sweet and savory dishes.
The secret that makes cloves smell so good is that the clove tree contains as much as eighty-five percent eugenol.
Eugenol is an aromatic compound especially used in food and cosmetics as a flavoring agent.
The cloves tree is a tropical tree native to the Moluccas, where nutmeg originates. Around 1770, this tree was first planted in Mauritius, a French colony.
Later, it was also planted in Zanzibar, and today, apart from Indonesia, it is also grown in Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar, and Kenya.
Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of cloves. It is estimated that the production of this spice in Indonesia accounts for almost seventy-five percent of the total world production.
The food industry uses cloves for fruit and aromatic cakes, alcoholic beverages, and fruit dishes.
In medicine, it is used as an anesthetic and antiseptic.
Apart from these two characteristics that make it used in medicine, cloves have a wide range of medicinal properties, the most important of which are: analgesic, anti-cancer, antioxidant, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antifungal, antiviral, anticoagulant and antibacterial.
Besides being a dominant spice with its aroma, cloves are also known as powerful natural aphrodisiacs, even in very rich spice mixtures.
In Indonesia, the birthplace of the cloves tree, this spice is used in cooking, but it also has a specific way of use. Indonesians crush dried cloves and smoke them in cigarettes.
This spice is obtained by grinding dried, unopened flower buds. The flower buds are picked when they are pink in color.
The entire work of picking is done manually. Cloves lose up to a third of their weight as they dry.
Cloves powder is an excellent substitute for mace in cooking, but due to the strong aroma of this spice, do not exaggerate the amount you will use.
Clove powder is one of the basic ingredients of some of the world’s most famous spice mixes: garam masala, Chinese five-spice powder, and apple pie spice.
Cumin is a spice believed to be native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. This spice can be found in powder form or as whole dried seeds.
Cumin seeds are small and shaped like a boat. At first glance, it is very reminiscent of caraway seeds. Several types of cumin differ in color.
The most common type is brownish-yellow in color, but there are also white, green, and black ones.
Cumin seeds were found in excavations in Syria and Egypt and were used more than four thousand years ago as a spice and an ingredient used in mummification. In addition, cumin is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments.
Cumin aromas are warm and slightly citrusy. For the rich and hearty taste of cumin to be felt as evenly as possible in the dish you are preparing, it is best to use cumin powder instead of whole dried seeds.
Ground cumin is obtained by grinding roasted cumin seeds.
Cumin has a strong flavor profile and can easily spice up a dish, but it is very good in combination with other spices.
Therefore, this versatile spice is most often used to prepare savory dishes.
Cumin is commonly used in Mexican, Indian, Mediterranean, and North African cuisine.
India is the world’s largest producer of cumin, and the plant from which this spice is obtained is still grown in Syria, Iran, Turkey, North Africa, Mexico, Chile, and China.
Dhaniya Jeera Powder
Dhaniya Jeera Powder is also known as coriander-cumin powder. Dhaniya Jeera Powder is made by mixing roasted cumin and coriander seeds.
In addition to being a great substitute for mace in the recipe, this spice mix will boost your immune system because it’s full of phytonutrients and vitamins.
Coriander is a spice obtained from the round yellow-brown seeds of the Coriandrum sativum plant, which is related to celery, carrots, and parsley.
This spice has floral and lemon aromas that complement each other wonderfully, combined with the aromas of cumin.
Coriander is found as a spice in garam masala and is used in savory dishes like cumin.
Like cumin and coriander, it was used in ancient Egypt and is also mentioned in the Bible.
Coriander is known not only for its refreshing aroma but also for its healing properties, it has a particularly effective effect on blood sugar reduction, and due to many antioxidants, it successfully strengthens the immune system and has an anti-cancer effect.
In addition, coriander successfully lowers blood pressure, improves brain function, and reduces anxiety symptoms.
This spice blend is used in Indian and South Asian cuisines to prepare traditional dishes.
Each region in India has its recipe for garam masala, but some common ingredients are nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, and cumin.
We have already recommended these five spices as ground mace substitutes, so garam masala will also be an excellent substitute.
In Hindi, masala means mixture, and garam means hot. The word garam does not mean the hotness of the spice but defines this spice as something that warms the body from the inside.
You should consider the composition when buying garam masala in the store as a ready-made mixture.
In some commercial mixes, some common spices traditionally used in garam masala may be omitted and replaced with, for example, dried chili peppers, garlic, or mustard seeds.
In addition to the fact that this spice mixture will not suit you, you should know that commercial mixtures are always added to dishes at the end so they do not lose their aroma.
The easiest way to choose a garam masala to replace ground mace is a blend used in Northwest India.
Generally, garam masala in northern India is made as a powder.
In the southern parts, it is most often used as a paste made by adding coconut milk, vinegar, or water to the mixture of spices.
Black peppercorns are the fruit of the flowering vine Piper nigrum, native to the Malabar Coast of India.
Black peppercorns are a dark red stonefruit from which three types of spices are obtained by picking at different stages of maturity and grinding: black pepper, green pepper, and white pepper.
Black pepper is obtained from green, unripe fruits that are boiled for a short time, dried in the sun, and finally ground into a fine powder.
Green pepper is also obtained from unripe fruits, but unlike the procedure for obtaining black pepper, it is not cooked but frozen to retain its green color.
White pepper is obtained from ripe fruits kept in water for about a week.
This procedure is necessary to remove the fruit’s flesh from the stone more easily. Then, the cleaned seeds are dried and ground.
Red pepper, like white pepper, is also obtained from ripe fruits, but when obtaining this type of spice, the fruits are kept in brine and vinegar to preserve the flesh of the fruit surrounding the seed.
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