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Ginkgo berries: culinary uses?

BananaBirkLarsen | Sep 5, 201109:36 PM     4

There is a tall, slender tree growing outside my apartment building. We never paid much attention to it until last fall when we saw a woman gathering its fallen berries through our living room window. After she left, we went outside to see what all the fuss was about. I picked up a berry and gave it a sniff. It smelled, quite literally, like crap. I was intrigued.

I recently identified this tree as a ginkgo tree. Aside from their alleged medicinal properties (apparently they show promise as a treatment for dementia), I still can't figure out why anyone would want these foul berries anywhere near themselves. A quick Google search turns up a number of blog posts along the lines of "Ginkgo Season, or Why I Hate Fall" and "Ginkgo trees sh*t berries". Wikipedia, on the other hand, has a segment titled "culinary uses" and claims the berries are sometimes eaten in China in congee, or at weddings.

My question: Is there any way I can take advantage of this tree right outside my window? I mean, sure, the things smell like feet, but so do some of my favourite cheeses. Is there any way to make them delicious? Or should I assume that the woman was simply attempting to stave off a bad case of dementia?

(The picture is courtesy of image search, but looks identical to my tree)

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