Autumn brings us so many gorgeous things! Have you already tried the Japanese favourite Autumn harvest, Ginkgo nuts (銀杏 Ginnan)? They are so delicious that you might feel like eating them all day. However, you should not eat too much! The reason behind it is the 3 life-threatening symptoms Ginkgo nuts can cause.
Ginkgo Nuts (銀杏 Ginnan) Can Be Poisonous?
Autumn is my favourite time of year! It is breathtaking to see the street lined with Ginkgo trees (イチョウ）when all the leaves turn into yellow. I feel as if I was walking through a yellow tunnel!
Do you know Japanese people like eating Ginkgo nuts? Yes, that stinky one! They are actually delicious and quite nutritious that contains vitamins A, B, C, protein, iron and potassium. In China, they have been even used as medicine.
However, let me warn you not to eat them too much because eating a large quantity of Ginkgo can cause Ginkgotoxin poisoning!
What Happens If You Eat Too Many Ginkgo Nuts?
Ginkgo nuts contain Ginkgotoxin (Methylpyridoxine), which impedes Vitamin B6 exhaustion, the lack of which can cause these serious symptoms;
Vomiting and Diarrhoea
They are the most common symptoms. The symptoms usually start appearing within 12 hours after eating Ginkgo nuts.
Difficulty Breathing and Loss of Consciousness
Vomiting and diarrhea are bad enough but things can get even worse. It can cause difficulty breathing, then loss of consciousness, and in the worst case, a shock that leads to death.
If you feel dizziness after eating Ginkgo nuts, go to E&A without hesitation!
Allergic Skin Reactions
Touching Ginkgo sometimes causes an allergic reaction. Signs of an allergic reaction to ginkgo may include rash, hives, itching, and facial or mouth swelling. If you touch them with bare hands, avoid touching other parts of your body and make sure to wash your hands immediately.
How Much Ginkgo Nuts Are Okay to Eat?
Generally, 40 nuts per day for an adult and 7 nuts per day for a child.
You might be relieved to hear that you can eat up to 40 pieces per day? Surely you don’t usually eat that much, right?
But it is worth noting that 70 percent of the patients of Ginkgotoxin poisoning are children. The younger they are, the easier to be affected. So, you have to be very careful when you use Ginkgo nuts for children’s meals. A tiny quantity might cause poisoning. It is wise to avoid giving them to small children and babies.
My grandmother used to stop me from eating Ginkgo nuts when I was a child. So, there was science behind it!
2 Simple Ginkgo Nut Recipes
Let me share the best and the simple recipes to enjoy Ginkgo nuts the most!
Roasted Ginkgo Nuts (煎り銀杏 Iri-Ginnan）
- Ginkgo nuts (20-25 pieces)
- Salt (1/2 cup)
Step1. Make a crack on Gikno nuts using pliers or kitchen scissors. Alternatively, you can crack them with the back of the knife.
Step2. Put ginkgo nuts into a heated frying pan. (You don’t need to put oil before frying.)
Step3. Heat for 5 minutes (small to medium heat) until you start hearing the shells pop open.
Step4. Put salt over Ginkgo nuts.
Step5. Remove the shells and ready to eat!
*Please be careful as they might pop and hit you while heating.
Ginkgo Nut Rice (銀杏ご飯 Ginnan Gohan)
- 4/5 rice cooker cup of regular rice
- 1/5 rice cooker cup of Mochi rice (glutinous rice)
- Approx. 180 cc water
- 10-12 ginkgo nuts
- 1 tbsp sake
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 cm piece kombu kelp
Step1. Rinse regular and Mochi rice together, drain and leave it for 30 minutes.
Step2. Crack open Gingko nut shells with a hammer. Remove shells and skin.
Step3. When the rice is ready to cook in a rice cooker, add sake and water to slightly below the 1-cup mark. Add prepared Gingko nuts and salt, mix well, put kombu kelp, and press the start button.
Step4. When rice is cooked, remove kombu kelp, wait for 10 minutes, and gently fluff. Ready to eat!
Tips: You can roast ginkgo nuts in a frying pan as well so that it will be easier to remove the shells.
Are Ginkgo Nuts Worth the Smell?
Now that you are aware of the dangers of eating Ginkgo nuts too much or touching them with bare hands, you can safely enjoy the tasty Autumn harvests! Next time when you walk through the Ginkgo lined street, why don’t you collect the Ginkgo nuts and bring them home for a nice meal? I know they are very stinky but trust me, it is worth bearing the smell!
More autumn reading:
- Chestnuts? Kuri? Marron? How to Enjoy Sweet & Savoury Chestnuts in Japan!
- Vegetable Delivery Box Services From Farms
- Sanma: Japan’s Favorite Autumn Fish
- What Is Kouyo? A Guide To Seeing Autumn Leaves In Japan