Tag Archives: chinese

It’s The Nuts; Ginko Nuts

14 Nov

Foetid forage is more appealing than it smells.

It’s mid-November and the Ginko nuts are in season. You might be familiar with the Ginko (or Maidenhair) tree because of the smell. It stinks. At this time of the year, the yellow mess of dropped fruit and soggy leaves under the tree stinks like vomit, dog-pooh and cheese (nice). A stinky tree doesn’t sound like a very promising first blog post, but I think it is. I’m excited by the dropped fruit and in some ways it sums up what inspires me about food in Hackney.

If you have a little bit of knowledge and an open mind this tree yields an amazing, foraged, local, seasonal, FREE treat and, to misquote Sir Michael Caine, not a lot of people know that. There are some people who do know though, and they seem to be mainly Chinese. I spoke to one woman this morning who was collecting a big bag-full of the smelly windfall on Lordship Road (N16). She was Chinese and was surprised that I knew about Ginko nuts. She told me that they’re very hard to buy in this country so she collects them. I guess she would do even if they were easy to buy, cos the street version is free (right kids?).

She was going to use them for puddings, but warned me not to eat too many because they contain “a little bit of poison”. Wow. This nut is not only smelly but dangerous! It’s got to be good because she was collecting a big old bag-full to take home. She did say she’d freeze some of them.

I love it! It’s going on right under our noses (literally) but its a secret. This is what I like about food in Hackney. There are special, exciting, seemingly secret things going on and I want to get to the bottom of them, and share them with you. If you’ve read this far then you’re probably interested in Hackney food too. So lets see what’s out there and share it.


Tommy x

Ginko nuts and leaves on the ground

Ginko fruit on the ground