This buff-colored, delicately sweet nut comes from the center of the inedible fruit of the maidenhair tree, a native of China. Fresh ginkgo nuts are available during fall and winter and can be found in many Asian and gourmet markets. Their hard shells must be removed with a nutcracker and the nutmeats soaked in hot water to loosen their skins. Ginkgo nuts are also available dried or canned in brine. The canned nuts must be rinsed of brine before using. Ginkgo nuts, which turn bright green when cooked, are particularly popular in Japanese cooking. See also nuts.