The ginkgo nut is a local Japanese treat that’s in season from mid-autumn to winter. These nuts from the ginkgo tree, also called ginkgo biloba, are notorious for their smell and mushy texture.

They’re considered a delicacy when prepared in particular dishes like Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes, Bamboo Shoot Rice, and more.

These nuts are used as flavorful additions to spice up an average meal. There are plenty of recipes you can use the ginkgo nut in regardless of the season.

We’ll share everything there is to know about the ginkgo nut, from what it is, how to cook it, and recipes worth trying!

What is the Ginkgo Nut?

If you visit Japan, you may notice a faint or powerful smell as you walk through the streets. This odor is a signature of this local seed, which some would compare to stinky cheese.

Ginkgo nuts on a tree

Each kernel has a chewy texture that brings a unique flavor when cooked properly. Unlike some other nuts, the ginkgo nut cannot be eaten raw. If consumed uncooked, the nuts can be toxic.

You can forage ginkgo fruits if you’re lucky enough to have some locally. However, you can also purchase them in stores or online. Some find the ginkgo fruit an exciting addition to their dishes because of the rise in foraging — finding food in nature.

Once you’ve gotten a hold of them, you’ll be able to enjoy their unique flavor by pairing them with your favorite dishes.

How Do You Cook Ginkgo Nuts?

Because the ginkgo nut cannot be eaten raw, it must be roasted or cooked to remove its toxins.

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Cooking the nuts creates a unique and delectable experience you won’t find elsewhere. Additionally, the skin that encases each kernel is known to produce a strong odor and, in some cases, a rash. Therefore, it must be discarded before consumption.

cooked ginkgo nuts

The cooked ginkgo kernels have a gummy texture that some might compare to seasoned popcorn. You’ll want to put the nuts into a skillet with oil and cook them over medium heat until the shells crack open and the kernel inside shows a jade-green color.

When you see this green color, you know your ginkgos are safe to eat and enjoy.

Ginkgo Nut Recipes

The ginkgo nut is often referred to as “white nuts.” They have a neutral taste that allows them to pair well with all sorts of dishes, including sweet and savory meals.

ginkgo nut with syrup

Whether you have a sweet tooth or prefer something spicy, a ginkgo fruit recipe is ready for you to enjoy! Each season brings unique flavors to blend and try.

This brings us to the next part: ginkgo nut recipes!

There are plenty of options to try in every season. Look at the several meals you and your loved ones can enjoy when cooking with ginkgo nuts.

Use our recipes as a starting point for your own culinary creations that bring a little piece of Japan’s palate to yours.

Roasted Japanese Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a delicious part of the autumn palate. Using sweet potatoes is a nutritious and affordable way to add flavor to your meals, especially when you throw in some roasted ginkgo nuts.

A simple meal you can make is roasted sweet potatoes, which pair well with roasted and salted ginkgo nuts.

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This recipe takes five minutes to prepare and about an hour to cook.

You’ll want to preheat your oven to 400F degrees and wash your potatoes before you lay them on a cookie sheet or roasting pan.

You’ll cook them for an hour before slicing them open and seasoning them with your favorite salt, pepper, oil, and roasted ginkgo nuts.

Shittake Salad with Ginkgo Nuts

Winter is the perfect time to have a salad of fresh greens. You’ll want to get your favorite spinach, mushroom, and cheese crumbles together with your go-to seasonings.

You’ll want to cook your ginkgo nuts and mushrooms until they’re nice and roasted. Don’t soak the mushrooms, as they’ll become spongy.

From there, toss them in with your crisp leaves and spinach, sprinkle the salad with cheese crumbles and oil, and you’ve got yourself a tasty, healthy meal to enjoy with delightful ginkgo nuts.

You can spice up any salad with these delicious seasonal kernels, adding a delectable, chewy texture to your fresh salad.

Bamboo Shoot Rice

Bamboo is in season for spring dishes, so why not try a dish with roasted ginkgo nuts?

A delicious bowl of bamboo shoot rice can bring new life to your spring palate. Fresh bamboo will need to be boiled to eliminate any lingering bitter taste, or you can purchase canned bamboo shoots for faster preparation.

You’ll wash your rice before seasoning it with sake, soy sauce, and a salt mixture. You can cook the bamboo and rice as you’d typically cook rice before tossing in the ginkgo trees nuts.

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You’ll have a delicious bowl of rice with mouth-watering flavors to share with friends and family in no time!

Try Different Okra Variations

Have you tried a delicious dish with okra in it? You can grill okra and ginkgo nuts together and season them with pepper and lemon for a refreshing summer treat.

You can also bread and fry okra in buttermilk for a delicious snack. Okra allows you to have a low-calorie meal that’s both delicious and nutritious.

Whether you grill, bread, or fry okra, be sure to top it off with roasted and salted ginkgo nuts to get the most out of your meal.

Your friends and family will quickly devour them, giving you the perfect opportunity to perfect your cooking with these ingredients.

The Bottom Line

Ginkgo nuts are a local treat that can be foraged anywhere that grows them.

You can share them with friends and family to spread the word about the chewy ginkgo nut and the unique ways you can add flavor to classic dishes! The nuts can be used to season delicious dishes all year round.

 Just remember – don’t ever eat them raw!