Nutritious Taste of Fall “Gin’nan”
As fall deepens, there are more and more occasions to find gin’nan nuts at the foot of a strand of gingko trees with bright yellow leaves. Gin’nan is a gingko nut and often referred to as a “living fossil” as its origins date back to ancient times over 200 million years ago.
Gin’nan may remind you of its strong smell. There are several theories on that distinct smell, from helping graminivorous dinosaurs and some omnivorous animals find them and scatter the seeds, to avoiding getting gobbled up by keeping many wild animals away.
It was in the Kamakura or Muromachi era that gin’nan nuts were imported into Japan. It is thought that monks brought them back from China as medicine. In fact, gin’nan nuts are rich in minerals, as well as nutrients like carotene and vitamins. The subtle bitterness goes very well with sake, but caution is required as over-consumption may cause symptoms of poisoning.