Ginkgo nuts are usually first recognized by their pungent, and often unpleasant, odor. The smell has been compared to cheeses like camembert and gorgonzola. The nuts grow from the ancient maidenhair tree, the leaves of which have been used in traditional medicines. Ginkgo nuts are widely used in Asian cooking. They are also high in a number of nutrients, such as potassium, thiamin and niacin.
Put on the latex gloves and remove the hard shells of the nuts by gently breaking them with the nutcracker. Be careful not to damage the nuts inside. Soak the nuts in a bowl of warm water to loosen the skins.
Remove the inner skin of the nuts with your hands while still wearing the gloves. The skin should peel off readily after being soaked. Don't remove the gloves until the skins have been discarded.
Roast the nuts in a saucepan. Use a medium heat, and keep turning the nuts to keep them from burning. If you intend to eat the nuts as a snack, no other ingredients are needed. If you are using the nuts as part of a recipe, use water, oil or butter as required at this stage.
Cook the nuts until they are a light green. Eat alone as a snack, or chop up and add to the dish of your choice.