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17 October

Ginkgo biloba 'Mariken' with lovely autumn colour 
Ginkgo is known as the maidenhair tree, is a unique species of tree with no close living relatives. The ginkgo is a living fossil, as a unique species recognisably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years. It is native to China, and the tree is widely cultivated and introduced early in human history, it has various uses as a food and in traditional medicine. Another such rarely found species is Japanese flowering cherry ornamental trees but today in this post we will talk about Ginkgo

The nut-like gametophytes inside the seeds are held in high regard in parts of Asia, and are a traditional Chinese food. Ginkgo nuts are used in congee, and are often served at special occasions such as weddings and the Chinese New Year (as part of the vegetarian dish called Buddha's delight). In Chinese culture, they are believed to have health benefits; some also consider them to have aphrodisiac qualities. Japanese cooks add ginkgo seeds (called ginnan) to dishes such as chawanmushi, and cooked seeds are often eaten along with other dishes.

The method for preparing the nuts is as follows:
1) remove the 'flesh' from the fruit first & remove the nuts inside.
2) Dry the nuts for a week or so - flesh inside the nut too easy to break if too new.
3) Use nut-cracker against the 2 sharp edges of the nut - it should break into 2 halves.
4) The flesh of the nuts can be boiled, stir-fried or oven cooked (briefly) and then eaten either on their own or as an ingredient in a larger dish


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