On Saving Gingko Nuts

Last year our gingko tree produced a massive crop of nuts leading to the question of how to preserve them. I carefully washed and dried the unshelled nuts and put them into sealed plastic containers. Some I stored in the pantry, some in the fridge, and some in the freezer.

The gingko nuts from the freezer were chewy, and while they retained a little gingko-ness, they were not the ephemeral seasonal gingkos. They are fine to add to a hot pot, or soup, or steamed with vegetables because they would add a nice texture, but they are only a sorry memory of a bountiful autumn.

Our beautiful tree won’t have many nuts this year…

Go Nuts! Ginkgo Nuts


A ginkgo tree is lovely with its summer grey-green fan-shaped leaves fluttering in the slightest breeze. We are lucky to have a female gingko in our front yard. This is our first year in this house, and I’ve watched the tree, waiting for the edible “nuts” to fall. The fleshy seed coat may look like yellow cherries, but it smells something like very stinky cheese or even dog feces. This post describes how to prepare ginkgo nuts for a fun and tasty snack.

Chawan Mushi with Ginkgo Nuts


One of the first Japanese recipes I ever made is this savory custard. It’s more unexpected than exotic, soothing and almost familiar. Twenty years ago, I had no idea what dashi was but I must have found an instant dashi soup mix in a store specializing in foreign foods. Ginkgo nuts, lily root, and chestnuts were impossible to find; eggs, chicken breast, shrimp, and soy sauce were easy.

Fresh Ginkgo Nuts

fresh gingko nuts

A ginkgo, lovely as it is with its evocative nickname—maidenhair tree: for its fan-shaped leaves resembling the pinnae of the Maidenhair fern.—raining gold in the fall, the seeds concealing edible green lucky jade, is not a good reason to buy a house. But as we considered living in that house, I noticed that the garden/landscape had some unusual plants. I looked up and saw that tree to fall in love with. Of course, I looked down and picked up some of the seeds. I know better now; I won’t fall in love with another house.