Heartland Nuts

Pistachio Nuts

Pistachio nuts were once a rare delicacy of the Middle East and were introduced to the United States in the mid to late 1890's. Today, pistachio nuts are harvested from trees worldwide while California accounts for the largest percentage of pistachio nuts in the United States. Pistachio nuts grow on pistachio trees in grape-like clusters. The trees grow to be around 10 to 12 feet tall and produce nuts within a few years of planting. The nuts are harvested around mid-September when the shell, or hull, turns tan in color and splits open slightly, revealing the greenish nut inside. Occasionally you will see pistachio nuts in a red colored shell, however these were dyed to appeal to consumers not grown naturally.

Pistachio nuts are a good source of potassium, fiber and protein. Pistachio nuts have a distinct, delicate flavor that is ideal for all sorts of recipes and they add sophistication to everyday snacks and appetizers. Because of their split shell, pistachio nuts are quickly opened making preparing for cooking or baking simple. When selecting pistachio nuts, look for the characteristic split shell, as a closed shell is a sign of an unripe nut. Since the nut is exposed in the shell, pistachio nuts are best stored in airtight containers in the refrigerator and eaten or used within 1 to 2 weeks.

Pistachio nuts are popular in stir-fry and added to salads, but they can be oven-roasted and eaten alone. When oven-roasting pistachio nuts, watch them closely to prevent burning. Pistachio nuts can be coarsely chopped as a topping to any dish, or substituted for another nut in a favorite recipe. On online search for recipes specifically calling for pistachio nuts will yield a plethora of results, providing many ways to experiment with cooking with this delightful nut. Pistachio nuts are considered in-season in late September through November making them an ideal nut for holiday recipes.

© 2002 - 2013