Mysteries of the Ginkgo Tree / Ginkgo Drink

Ginkgo is a tree with lots of stories to tell. From our previous post, we found out that ginkgo is the last surviving species in its genetic family. Also, unlike most plants, there are male and female Gingko trees.

Another interesting story is how the white hard ginkgo nuts are produced and about that inedible central stem in the ginkgo nut.

The ginkgo fruit that drops from the tree looks something like this.

Quite different from the ginkgo nuts that we normally see, huh? That’s because it goes through a in-glamorous process to make it look more glamorous in that shiny white shell.

Firstly, the ginkgo fruits, which come only from the female trees, are extremely smelly. They are described as dog poo or even vomit. Imagine having to pick loads of these and then to soak them in water for a few hours. This soaking is to make it easier to remove the seed in fruit. Imagine the smell after the soaking!

After the stinky business, now comes the poisonous part. The fruit has a chemical similar to that of poison oak. So one has to be careful when removing the seed. Once the seed is removed, throw away the fruit. Yes, throw the fruit and keep the seed. Put the nut in the oven to dry it and it’s the ginkgo seeds or nuts that you normally see in the shops.

Now, to eat it, you’ll need to remove the hard shell and the soft yellowish fruit inside is edible. However, not before removing the bitter stem inside the fruit. This part is supposed to carry the most poison and should not be eaten. The funny thing is this bit only appears if you keep the nut for a long periods of over a year. If the nut is fresh, then this stem is not present and there’s no need to remove it.

Oh, did you also know that the yellowish flesh is poisonous if you consume too much of it? You cannot eat more than 5 per day.

So much in one tree. And that’s not all, there are still some facts on the ginkgo tree… But we’ll leave that for another post, should we? 🙂

Now, back to the review. These are not any ordinary ginkgo drink. These were bought in an area that is well known for it’s good quality ginkgo plantation in China. So lots of expectations.

After stirring it in hot water, the liquid looks whitish. This is because milk has been added as a base. The taste is slightly milky with quite a prominent hint of ginkgo (the yellowish fruit). This is subjective but the ginkgo taste good and natural, sweet and slightly bitter. Really good.

I received this as a gift from a friend who bought it from China.

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