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Ginkgo nuts have a smooth outer shell that is oval in shape. The shells are light yellow/beige in color when ripe. Ginkgo nuts have a texture that is soft and chewy like a roasted chestnut. Gingko nuts have an extremely pungent smell, odiferous almost like Camembert cheese.
Ginkgo nuts are available in fall.
Gingko nuts are the seeds found inside the fruit of Gingko trees. The Ginkgo nut is in the Ginkgoaceae family. There are female trees and male trees, only female trees bear fruit. People eat the meat of the Ginkgo nuts that is inside of a Ginkgo fruit. There are few different varieties of Ginkgo nut. Toukurou Ginkgo nuts are the popular ones for eating in Japan.
Ginkgo nuts are nutritious. They contain about 50 calories per ounce and virtually zero fat. Ginkgo nuts contain Thiamin, Niacin and Phosphorus as well as trace amounts of Riboflavin and Magnesium. Chinese and Japanese people have used them in folk medicine since ancient times. They suppress a cough, loosen phlegm and work for enuresis. Ginkgo nuts can be toxic if eaten in large quantities. Young children can be poisoned by the MPN(4-methoxypyridoxine)also known as Ginkgotoxin, found in the meat. Eating boiled Ginkgo nuts is safer than eating them raw. Some people are allergic to the chemicals found in the outer fleshy coating of Ginkgo nuts, so gloves should be warn when picking and preparing the nuts for consumption.
Gingko nuts can be eaten alone in small quantities or added to soups, stews and stir-fry dishes. Ginkgo nuts will last longer if they are refrigerated in their shell. The color of their shells will darken to brown when they get old. Try to eat them within two weeks of picking. If you need to store them for a long period time before they are eaten, remove shells and cook the insides in boiling water with salt. Drain and cool the nuts before storing them in the freezer. To remove the shells you can dry-fry them in a pan and peel, or use a nutcracker or a hammer to break them open.
Ginkgo trees are treated like deity in Japan. They have been planted inside of shrines and temples for many centuries because of their many medicinal properties, their strong vigor, and their uniquely sector shape form.
Ginkgo trees are considered living fossils because they have been thriving for tens of thousands of years. There is even evidence of their existence during the Jurassic Period. Currently the oldest known Ginkgo tree can be found in Di Lin Temple, which is located in Fu Lai Mountain, in the Shangdong province. It is said that it dates back to the Shang dynasty, more than 3,500 years ago. Aichi prefecture, Oita prefecture and Fukuoka prefecture are the main regions that produce Ginkgo nuts in Japan. In China, Ginkgo is called Yaachao, meaning duck leg because the leaves of Ginkgo are shaped like a ducks leg.
Recipes that include Ginkgo Nuts. One is easiest, three is harder.