Use of Ginkgo Nuts

Dr. Salleh Mohd. Nor salleh at
Tue Nov 23 12:31:23 EST 1993

Forest Research Institute Malaysia - FRIM
Kepong Malaysia
Newsgroups: bionet.agroforestry
From: sweeney at (Jeff Sweeney)
Subject: gingkgo trees and pistachio nuts
Message-ID: <1993Nov22.143459.16930 at>
Sender: news at (News System)
Organization: University of Chicago -- Academic & Public Computing
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1993 14:34:59 GMT

... I have read that both ginkgo trees and pistachio nuts are oriental.
I don't think the ginkgo nut is a pistachio nut, but are they
related?  Are ginkgo nuts edible?  Do they taste good?  How would you
prepare them?  I can't imagine eating the fruit pulp, but then we eat
many foods that I never would have tasted if left to my own devices.

Dear Jeff,

A brief reply to your inquiry about ginkgo nuts. The Chinese in Malaysia
also use gingko nuts in our cooking. We purchase them (the nut without the
pulp) from traditional Chinese medicinal shops and they cost a bomb
(charging by the ounce) ! That is why the oriental couple were actively
foraging for them on the ground. You see, what is considered a pure
nuisance (the stench) in American neighbourhoods is considered pure gold
to us Chinese. When I was in Oregon, my American friends used to complain
about the stench and the mess the fruit pulp makes on the pavements.

I don't know if the pistachio nut is related to the ginkgo nut. But we
don't eat the ginkgo nut like pistachio nut. We use the ginkgo nut in
sweet, clear, soup-like desserts. One of the more popular desserts is what
we call the barley, soya-bean (soya beancurd sheets) and ginkgo nut drink.
You can get all these ingredients from the oriental store in Chinatown
Chicago. We boil these ingredients together and sweeten to taste (1 1/2
hours over slow heat). Oh, remember to remove the "heart" or the center
from the nut or else it would be bitter. This drink is believed to have
medicinal properties. One more property of the nut, it is reputed to
improve memory. I think you can find bottled ginkgo in health food stores
or even in the health food corner at your local Safeway.

I hope the above explanation is helpful; it is what I had learnt from mom.
You might want to give the drink a try. Good luck!

Jenny Wong, (salleh at

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