Every season brings a new mystery food to our local grocery stores. Today, while browsing the local produce section, I saw a bag of mystery nuts.
Turns out they’re raw ginkgo nuts (ginnan/ぎんなん in Japanese). In addition to the well-known benefits of mental superpowers, the gingko nut also helps the respiratory and circulatory systems and attacks free radicals.
They’re also toxic.
Luckily, I didn’t know what I’d bought, so I did some googling and learned all this before tossing one down my gullet. When cooked, they’re considered a delicacy in many Asian cuisines, but they’re still to be eaten in small quantities as the toxin is heat-resistant.
I cracked one open, just to see what was inside (because I’m a male and that’s what we do). The nut is soft, bright green and smells like stinky cheese. I’d include a picture, but because I’m male and didn’t have the proper opening tool, I smashed it real good, so there’s not much left of the poor test nut.
In Japanese drinking establishments, they’re a popular snack, roasted and served on a stick. They’re also a popular addition in a traditional New Year’s dish called chawanmushi (steamed egg custard).
I’ll probably go the roasting route, although I may also try the “leave them in the fridge until they start to smell like stinky feet” method.