A Local Perspective on Life in Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.

The Easiest Way to Prepare Your Fresh Store-bought (or foraged) Gingko Nuts for Eating


Frsh gingko nuts still in their fruity (and stinky) casings on the ground in Matsushiro Park, Tsukuba

Frsh gingko nuts still in their fruity (and stinky) casings on the ground in Matsushiro Park, Tsukuba

Fresh gingko nut are on sale at WAKU WAKU HIROBA at the Lala Garden Shopping Center in Tsukuba

Though some go through the trouble of picking them up off the ground and extracting them from their fruity casing, you can buy fresh gingko nuts at fine stores throughout Japan in late autumn. These packets are on sale for 300 Yen each at the WAKU WAKU HIROBA in the Lala Garden Shopping Center in Tsukuba

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 in autumn, when I eat a few gingko nuts every day, I wake up in the morning and 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 some every day (in season).

Gingko nuts

Gingko nuts in their shell should be kept in sealable plastic bags to keep them from stinking up your kitchen !

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 thoughout autumn. The problem with doing this is that you have to remove the gooey fruit casing from around the nutritious nuts- no easy task (though I have described it in an earlier post).

Gingko nuts

Gingko nuts leaave their smell on your habd after you`ve touched them!

Luck for us, though, is that some of Tsukuba`s finer shops sell packets of fresh raw gingko nuts still in their shell. But still, there are many who look at these packets and ask themselves- what do I DO with these?

The answer is easy. Zap them in your microwave!

Place them inside a paper envelope

Place some gingko nuts inside a paper envelope (you should not eat more than ten per day)

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.

After zapping-

After zapping-

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.

Cracked open

Cracked open

If you remove them too soon (and I am always impatient to get them into my mouth) they 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 misshapen 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.

Ready to eat

Ready to eat – but remember , don`t eat too many in one day!



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