Nutmeg and Mace

Absinthe Making

Nutmeg and mace are two different ingredients from the same plant. They have been used since ancient times (Pliny wrote about nutmeg and mace in the first century AD).

I have always liked nutmeg and mace but I totally fell in love with the spices when walking through the nutmeg grove in Welchman Hall Gully on the island of Barbados. The fresh nutmegs perfume the air with an exquisite spicy fragrance. The experience taught me that nutmeg, like pepper, must be fresh ground. Powdered is no substitute.


Freshly grated nutmeg is a special taste treat. A dash of nutmeg can do wonders for cooked vegetables (add at the end of cooking), fruit salads and is great on that holiday eggnog! Go easy on the amount, you typically need far less of the freshly grated form than of the powdered version.

Some of my recipes that use nutmeg:

To grate nutmeg, rub the whole nutmeg on a small-holed grater. Do not grind directly over food at the stove. Steam from the food may hasten spoilage of your nutmeg.


Dispite coming from the same plant, mace tastes very little like nutmeg. A blade of mace is a wonderful addition of a wide range of dishes, ranging from chicken and seafoods to vegetables. I especially like using mace in: