Nutmeg is a spice made from the seed of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrant), and ithas a fresh, rich aroma and a woody, bittersweet flavor with hints of clove. Nutmeg is the inner seed, while mace is the red, lace-like substance that covers the seed. When used in cakes, breads, pastries, fruit dishes and pies it pairs well with ginger, cinnamon and cloves. When used in lamb, mutton, meat stews, spinach dishes, veal, vegetable recipes and even pasta sauces, it pairs well with cumin, coriander, pepper and thyme.
To make nutmeg for seasoning, the nutmeg seeds are dried gradually in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time, the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat. The spice is ready when the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. It is separated from the outer coat (the mace).