Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Ginkgo Nut Season

When I used to live in Chiba, I'd watch the old folks in the park collecting ginkgo nuts. They'd stand under these massive old trees and either wait for the fruit to fall or hurl objects up into the branches to speed the process.

Seems like there's less competition out here in the countryside — maybe because there's so much other good stuff available, people can't be bothered. Anyway, yesterday we swung through a local park to check on the ginkgo trees' status. Happy to report we were right on time.
And no shaking necessary. There were dozens of nuts littered all over the ground under the trees. Two words of warning though before you attempt collecting them — they stink! Bring either gloves or a plastic bag to turn inside-out. But before you stoop down to pick up the fruit, give them a good twist with the bottom of your shoe or boot or Croc and then pick out the seed.
Once home you can wash them and then set them out in the sun to dry.
All right then, you're almost there. For food preparation I know of two ways to eat them. In Osaka I had them as a bar snack at an oden shop. There they grilled them before liberally covering the yellow bodies with sea salt. Conversely, they can be added to chawan mushi, a kind of custard.

Unfortunately, in the more backward States, cities don't plant female ginkgo trees for fear that people like me will make a mess of their lovely sidewalks.

A pity for the forager.

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