By Avi Landau
It is said that they reduce cholesterol, help maintain brain function and even prevent some types of cancer. And though I cannot vouch for any of these bold claims (though it WOULD be nice if they were all true !), I CAN speak from experience and tell you that when I regularly eat a few gingko nuts every day I wake up in the morning I`m REARING and ready to go- its RISE and shine, UP and at `em, even before I`m awake (if you catch my drift!).
That is why despite their smelliness (the raw nuts in their shell remind me of the lingering scent of vomit after it has been cleaned up!) and their slight bitterness, I make it a habit of eating every day.
I could join the real fanatical gingko-nut nuts and go out and gather them off of Tsukuba`s sidewalks, or from the ground at shrines and temples or parks. Tsukuba is a great place for gingko foraging, though this also means that parks, shrines, temples and sidewalks are quite odiferous though autumn. The problem with doing this is that you have to remove the gooey fruit casing from around the nutritious nuts- no easy task (thoug I have described it in an earlier post).
Luckily for us, though, is that of Tsukuba`s finer shops sell packets of fresh raw gingko nuts still in their shell. But there are many who look at these packets and ask- what do I DO with these?
The answer is easy. Zap them in you microwave!
When you are ready to eat your gingko nuts (GINNAN, in Japanese), remove a few from their packet- though its better to keep them in a zip-lock bag, to keep their odor at bay – and place them in a paper envelope.
You should know that it is supposedly NOT good for anyone to take more than 10 of the nuts in one day. I have three.
Place the envelope in the microwave oven. Zap for one minute at 700 watts.
Don`t be surprised to hear loud pops- little explosions, for each nut in the envelope.
When one minute is up and you open the microwave door you will find the paper puffed up and stained with oil.
If you remove them too soon (and I can never wait to get them into my mouth) them will be piping hot- so be careful. They should have cracks in them which enable you to easily extract the jade colored meat inside.
Sometimes the nuts will become distorted when they explode and you will find green splats on the inside of the envelope. You will have to peel these off to eat them. Don`t worry. They taste the same and have the same tonic effect.