My Mastic Gum Has No Flavor
I have been obsessed with experimenting with Mastic gum since I first learned of the spice - but man is it expensive and hard to find!! I picked up my first ounce in an Indian market in Houston. Thrilled and excited, I immediately tried using it in breads and sauces. I also tried making spice blends with it. But it wasn't long before I realized that it was doing essentially nothing to change the flavor. I bit into some of the raw crystals only to find a bland chalky flavor. It was at this point that I realized I had been bamboozled.
So again I set out to search high and low for this mystical spice. I finally decided to try ordering some from a notable online spice supplier, one I use often for other spices, but I had to bite the bullet and buy 4 oz at once (OUCH that was expensive!!). But I was confident in this supplier since I, and many others like me, had proven them many times before. Once my package arrived I promptly chomped down on a mastic crystal hoping to discover what the true flavor should be. Expecting a rich, piney flavor that I had read so much about, I was considerably disappointing to find that yet again it was bland and chalky. Except this time it did have a very faint piney undertone - very faint - suggesting that it could actually be some sort of mastic gum or a relative there of.
So my question is: How strong should the flavor of these crystals be? Mine seem to be very faint, mostly tasteless with a slight touch of pine. Does the flavor improve with grinding our cooking? How much of it do I have to use to make an impact on flavor?