Eat Ginkgo Nuts from City Streets

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Today I prepared the Ginkgo nuts which I harvested from Albrecht Durerstraat, in Amsterdam Oud Zuid, yesterday. They taste great and the three of us are showing no ill effects from eating them this evening! To prepare Ginkgo nuts, a few methods may be employed. All involve removing the toxic apricot coloured flesh (sarcotesta) from around the precious nut, without harming yourself. The sarcotesta contains the irritant found in poison ivy so wear rubber gloves and be very very careful and if your skin or eyes do become irritated, seek prompt medical attention.

How to prepare freshly harvested Ginkgo nuts/fruits

1. Soak your gingko fruit harvest in a bowl of cold water, away from animals, children or prying hands. An hour our two is sufficient to fully hydrate the flesh, making it very easy to remove.

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2. Wearing thick rubber gloves, simply rub the flesh off the nuts, into the soak water. Rub them off under the water, to avoid them squirting into eyes or surfaces where the toxic juice may go unnoticed. As each nut is exposed, place it in a small bowl. 3. Strain the water away, compost or bin the flesh. Rinse your sink drain well after this as the flesh starts to stink of apricoty vomit as it rots down. 4. Give the almost clean nuts another rinse in clean cold water, to remove almost all of the flesh (this is very quick and simple). Drain them and leave in the small bowl.

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5. Spread the cleaned, wet nuts on a baking tray and place in an oven, preheated to 80°C (to dry off and store then – remove from oven when the surface is totally dry) or to 180°C (to roast)

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6. To roast at 180°C in an oven (or in a small sturdy frying pan) simply leave them in the heat, toss them around once or twice and remove when the outside of the nut shells looks just toasted in places. Test one. 7. When cracked open and the inner skin peeled off, a ginkgo nut should be like a very firm jelly but not rock solid, the colour should be a beautiful translucent green. Mine took about 15 minutes in the oven to reach this point today.

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6 Comments

  1. so cool to know a new way to prepare and cook this. I will try your method:) It is a huge delicacy in Asia. In Singapore, we cook it as a sweet dessert. Our way of preparing: 1) Crack the shell 2) Soak the nut with skin in hot water 3) rub off skin 4) use a toothpick through top to bottom (middle of the nut) to remove the bitter greenish stuff inside the fruit. Ready!

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  2. Lynn, your method is spot-on! Tried it today for the first time (after our lunch-break foraging!) and it was very easy to follow. The result? Perfectly translucent, jade coloured, delicious Ginkgo nuts! Thanks again 🙂

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