Ginkgo Nuts

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Gingko nuts are the starchy kernels of Ginkgo biloba, the last survivor of a tree family that was prominent during the age of the dinosaurs. The nuts are borne inside fleshy fruits that develop a strong rancid smell when ripe. In Asia, the tree’s home, the fruits are fermented in vats of water to soften and remove the pulp, and the seeds are washed, dried, and roasted or boiled, either in-shell or shelled. The kernel has a distinctive but mild flavor.