There is a grocery store Rachel and I love to go to in Philadelphia called Hung Vuong. This is a magical place that has something for the both of us: aisles and aisles of condiments for Rachel and row after row of cookies for me. There are so many varieties of mochi a girl can die happy, you know? Sometimes I lose track of time as I let the sheer magnitude of cookie options wash over me.
Anyway, at our last trip to Hung Vuong, a vacuum-sealed package in the refrigerated aisle caught my eye. Something about vacuum-sealed packaging is just so satisfying. I rarely say no to something that is vacuum packed. This particular vacuumed packed item was a bunch of gingko nuts. I had never seen gingko nuts before. They were milky-yellow and all cuddled up together, and they looked delicious. The back of the package had cooking suggestions in English. Apparently, you can fry, roast, steam, or boil gingko nuts, and I bet there are even more ways to prepare the little pearls that wouldn't fit on the back of the package. The directions for boiling the gingko nuts encouraged you to mix honey in the water. I never say no to mixing honey with anything, and this sounded like a really top-notch idea. Everything seemed right about the gingko nuts. They looked pretty, they incorporated honey, and they were going to be so satisfying to open. I bought them and looked forward to the day we would devour them.
Last week, Riley and I decided to go for it.
Opening the vacuum-sealed packaging was just as wonderful as you would have expected. The Gingko nuts were all squished because they were snuggled so close to other gingko nuts in the package. I don't know why, but this is just delightful to me.
Sometime between opening the package and putting them in this colander, I realized that the package told me how to cook the nuts, but not how to serve the nuts. I started looking online to get recipes for gingko nuts, and you know what I found out pretty quickly?
Gingko nuts are totally poisonous! Ok, so they are only poisonous if you eat more than about 8 at a time, but there is way, way more than 8 nuts in this package, and I was really looking forward to eating them like popcorn or grapes. That's ok, that's my own gluttonous American mind at work. I just wish I had known before I started envisaging myself shoving handfuls of gingko nuts in my face. It's fine.
Riley was a little worried about the toxicity of the gingko nuts, so she had me wash them off pretty well. This is right before I said, "Get your furry head out of there, Fuzzface!" I really like calling Riley "Fuzzface."
Ok, so I brought a pan of honey water to a boil. Everything was going to plan.
I plopped the gingko babies in the honey water and waited until they transformed from pale yellow to golden yellow. I drained the water and admired my and Riley's work.
At this point, actually, Riley lost interest because, you know... she's a cat. But look how gorgeous these nuts turned out! I thought it was going to be hard to only eat 8 at a time.
Guys, I don't know what I did wrong, but let me just tell you that it was very, very easy to eat fewer than 8 gingko nuts at a time. My beautiful little ginkgo babies were very bitter and generally funky-tasting. I read online that they have a faint taste of Camembert cheese, but this was not that. This was just like the end of a bad date when you ask yourself, "Is it me? Or is is Gingko?" I'm going with the theory that it's me. Does anyone know what I did wrong? Do you have any suggestions about better ways to cook gingko nuts so that I never make this terrifying face again:
In case you are wondering, Riley did not eat any of the gingko nuts. She is kind of a jerk.