Gingko Tree

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by y2kmei, Jul 17, 2006.

  1. y2kmei

    y2kmei Member

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    A friend of mine just moved to a house that has a gingko tree. It now has a lot of green fruits. Can anyone please tell me if these fruits are edible? If yes, is there anything my friend should do so that she will get something like those hard shell gingko in the store?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    After smelling them once they have fallen on the ground in the hot sun, you won't want to eat them. They have a horrible, almost disgusting smell. That is the reason why the male varities are more popular. According to Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants" the Japanese and Chinese do eat them. Maybe they taste better than they smell?
     
  3. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    You need to wash the smelly pulp (smells of rancid butter) off to get the nuts out. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning the nuts, as some people get a rash (similar to poison-ivy tho' not as bad) from the pulp.
     
  4. y2kmei

    y2kmei Member

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    How can I tell if they are male varieties or not? Yes, Chinese and Japanese do eat them and they are good for health, I supposed.

    Will the green soft shell turn hard and cream in color later? Or should I pick them from the trees now or later? If later, when?

    Thanks.
     
  5. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    If they have fruit, they're female... beyond that, though, I don't know anything about when to harvest them.
     
  6. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    No way to tell them apart except when the females fruit. If buying one at a nursery, look for named varieties and ask if it's a male. Not much help in your situation, you have a female! The green fruit will turn greenish yellow and soft when ripe. They drop from the tree when ripe in the fall and will also smell pretty bad. The edible part is the kernal, contained within the nut within the fruit.

    Simon
     
  7. y2kmei

    y2kmei Member

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    The berry like fruits are now all hanging on the tree and are soft. Do I wait after they turn yellow and fall onto the ground then remove the soft shell? Or do I pick them and remove the soft part now? Thanks all for helping.
     
  8. smivies

    smivies Active Member

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    Wait until they fall. If you are having trouble with pests taking the nuts, wait until they start to fall, then pick the rest. I can't imagine if you picked them now, that they would be ripe? I believe the standard practice is to collect them from the ground....effective & very practical considering the trees get 100' tall

    Simon
     
  9. woodschmoe

    woodschmoe Active Member 10 Years

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    Ginko is the world's oldest cultivated nut tree: it's likely only in the last century or so that its food has been considered a nuisance, tho it is smelly and messy. Harvest the fallen nuts with gloves, as mentioned: wash and dry them, then crack the nuts and boil them. When cooked, the kernel inside is said to taste like sweet corn, or a large pine nut. Varying reports of people experiencing toxic effects from eating large amounts, but they've been cultivated and eaten for centuries.
     

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