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Melinjo nuts grow in small cone-like clusters. The nuts can be harvested when their skin is still a vibrant, bright green or when further mature and red-orange in color. The skin is relatively thin, slightly soft to the touch, with a tender-firm texture. The inner seeds average about 2-4 centimeters in size, ovate in shape, white in color, and bitter in flavor.
Melinjo nuts are very rare to find outside of Southeastern Asia where they are in season from mid-summer through the early fall.
Melinjo is botanically classified as Gentum gnemon and is native to Southeast Asia and the western Pacific Ocean islands. Melinjo is also commonly known as padio oats, paddy oats, or belinjo. The entire young seed pods can be boiled and flavored with coconut cream. Melinjo nuts are commonly used in Indonesian cuisine as the mature seeds are often ground into flour that is used to make thin, flat crackers called Emping.