Nutmeg & Mace are two distinctly different spices produced from a fruit of an evergreen tree usually 9-12 mtr high. Mace is the dried reticulated ‘aril’ of the fruit and nutmeg is the dried seed kernel of the fruit. The trees are normally unisexual, bearing either male or female flowers. The male flowers are born in clusters, whereas female flowers are often solitary. Fruit is a fleshy drupe, spherical in shape, pale yellow in colour with a longitudinal groove in the center. When the fruit mature it burst open along the groove exposing the bright attractive mace, covering the hard black, shiny shell of the seed called nutmeg.
Both nutmeg and mace are used as condiment particularly in sweet foods. The spice in the ground form is mainly used in the food processing industry especially as a standard seasoning in many Dutch dishes. Nutmeg oleoresin is used in the preparation of meat products, soups, sauces, baked foods, confectionaries, puddings, seasoning of meat and vegetable etc. The fleshy outer cover of the fruit is crystallized or pickled or made into jellies. Mace is used in savory dishes.
It is used as a drug in Eastern countries because of its stimulant, carminative, astringent and aphrodisiac properties. Excessive doses have a narcotic effect. Nutmeg oil is used in cosmetics and toiletries.