Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes (Ginnan – ぎんなん)

Ginkgo nuts (Ginnan – ぎんなん) are in season from October – December, so try these Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes. If you live in Japan, you have probably been noticing the stinky mushy fruits falling from local trees. To some people the odor is camembert cheese to others far worse odors. In fact, these stinky little globs have edible nuts inside that are filled with nutrients and antioxidants if consumed in limited quantities. The gingko bilbos tree is one of the Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes longest living trees in the world supposedly having existed during the Jurassic period. It is also rumored that the only tree that survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb center area was a gingko tree. Chinese and Japanese have enjoyed the chewy textured kernels toasted or in dished for generations for their nutrimental, as well as, medicinal properties.Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes

Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes

Ginkgo should be eaten cooked and in limited quantities – adults no more than eight a day and children under 14 years no more than three. Gingko nuts are loaded with copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper is an essential trace mineral required in neuro-transmission, metabolism, as well as red blood cell (RBC) synthesis. Ginkgo nuts have small amounts of B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6, and folates.

japanese gingko nut recipesYou can buy gingko shell-less gingko nuts in packages in any Japanese supermarket year round, or buy whole in hard shells between October – February. If you buy the shelled version, toast the nuts in a frying pan for 3-5 mins. Once they cool you can use a nut cracker to pull off the shell. Another way to remove the shell is to place the nuts in a plastic bag after roasting and Japanese Gingko Nut Recipesthen hit gently with a hammer. Once the shell has been removed, you must remove the membrane (thin skin around the nut). The easiest way to remove the skin is to blanch the nuts in boiling water. Once shelled the nuts will go bad within two days – I recommend you cook and consume immediately. You can collect in parks and prepare at home, but wear gloves when cleaning of the mushy fruit because it can cause a skin rash.

I hope you enjoy these gingko nut recipes.

Great Japanese Gingko Nut Recipes


  1. ginkgo-skewersToasted and Salted Ginko Nuts – Great to complement a cold beer or glass of wine is a few toasted and salted gingko nuts. Just put a few on a bamboo skewer, lightly sprinkle with salt and toast in the oven for 2-3 mins. Remember not to eat too many!


2. Ginnan gohan / gingko nut rice – A delicious and easy addition to your daily steamed rice. Very easy to make if you have a package of pre-shelled ginan. Love the nutty flavor. Recipe from Recipes for Tom.


Gingko Nut Recipes

3. Pickled lotus root salad with ginkgo nuts and wood ear mushrooms – This recipe does need 2 hours of sitting time to marinate. However, it is worth the wait. The textures of the lotus and nuts are awesome and add a great crunch to a side dish of rice.  Wonderful recipe from one of my favorite sites Soy Rice Fire.

chawanmushi-iii4. Chawanmushi (Japanese Steamed Egg Custard) 茶碗蒸し– This is my husband’s favorite Japanese dish. His mother used to make the most delicious recipe which is one of his childhood home foods, much more healthy than mashed potatoes which was my home food.  Takes some time to prepare but delicious in the cooler months.  From Just One Cookbook.



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Organized by Seasonality here are our favorite Japanese ingredients and recommend family friendly recipes. 

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Bikuri Vegtable (various locations in central Tokyo)

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