December 13, 2011

Cracking Gingko Nuts -- Ghetto Version

The very same day my mom was cooking gingko nuts at home, my grandmother decided to feed me some as well. I expected her to commiserate about the arduous process of cracking and peeling and boiling, only to have her demonstrate an infinitely easier way.

Apparently she learned this on TV -- you put some gingko nuts (in their shells) into a bag, microwave them until they start popping, then take them out. In this case, she didn't have a bag readily available, so she emptied the paper bag containing her pills and used that.

Once the shells have been sufficiently warmed (and made more flexible) by the microwave, you take a nutcracker and crack open the shell. She used a wrench from the tool box my father used in school in the late 1950s.

After peeling off the skins, she put them back in the bag and back in the microwave, and heated them up until the bag started smoking. Hey presto, cooked gingko! But the nuts had an odd, bitter aftertaste, and didn't have the satisfying chewiness they do when properly cooked. The irony of being taught a lesser cooking technique by my grandmother while my mother adhered to the old-school process did not escape me.

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