Ginkgo nuts - 銀杏
The ginkgo tree is a symbol of wisdom and it is particularly beautiful in late november when it turn a vibrant yellow. Its leaves have also a very pretty and typical shape, symbol of Tokyo University.
But ginkgo are doomed because they bare the most ignominious fruit: the ginkgo nut. If you have ever tasted ginkgo nuts you probably can't imagine where it comes from; if you have ever been close to a ginkgo tree in autumn you probably can't imagine that the ginkgo nut is actually edible. The ginkgo nut is protected by a yellow-orange thick and watery skin that when broken generate an extremely nauseous smell. The nuts have the bad habit of falling on the ground and get smashed by pedestrians, cars... in town and to rot in the country, still smelling so bad that the tree is a real nuisance! Yet gingko nuts are delicious!
The nuts are usually collected once they've fallen. Luckily the little typhoon that passed over Kanto last week, blown down all the nuts and I managed to collect them before they rot and stink. Always use gloves when collecteing the nuts!!!
The next step is to remove the stinks. For that plunge the nuts in a bucket of water for a few hours. The soaked skin is easy to remove (again, use gloves). And brush and wash the nuts until none of the flesh is visible. Finally dry the nuts in the oven at low temperature for about 2h, while shaking them once in a while. This year I collected so many nuts that I gave away most of them to my neighbors because I didn't have the time to peel and wash them all.
Now the nuts are ready for cooking and harvesting!