A Few Odd Facts about the Pistachio

Posted on : July 19th, 2018

Roasted Salted PistachiosWhat’s your favorite ice cream flavor? I have too many favorites to really choose just one but pistachio is always close to the top of my list!

When I was young pistachios were considered a special treat. Because it takes several years for a pistachio tree to bear fruit, they produce well only every other year, and each tree produces far fewer nuts than other varieties, pistachios tend to be pricier than other nuts. But they are SO good that they’ve been considered the rulers of the nut family since ancient times. They were supposedly the favorite food of the Queen of Sheba and the ancient Babylon king Nebuchadnezzar had them planted in the famous hanging gardens of Babylon. Alexander the Great brought them from Persia (now modern day Iran) to Greece and, later, the Roman emperor Tiberius introduced them to Europe where interest eventually spread throughout the world.

Iran is still the largest producer of pistachios by far but guess who grows the next largest amount? California! Growers in our state supply 98% of the pistachios grown in the United States. We have the perfect climate for it: cool winters and hot dry summers. And only a few places in the world have the right growing conditions: Turkey, Iran and California. So pistachios ARE a very special treat indeed.

What else is interesting about the pistachio?

Well, did you know that pistachios aren’t actually nuts at all? Like almonds, they’re seeds! The correct name is drupe. But people don’t eat pistachio fruits—the flesh is stripped away at harvest. Pistachios are relatives of the cashew, which also is not technically a nut. They are relatives of sumac, mangoes and poison ivy!

Also, pistachios, unlike most other nuts, are most often sold in their shells. In order to roast and salt nuts like walnuts or cashews, producers need to remove the shell. But a very high percentage of pistachios develop a natural split in their shells during the growing process. They actually have been bred for that because it means they can be salted and roasted while still inside the shells. That saves producers money and explains why shelled pistachios are more expensive.

But shelling your own pistachios is good for your health! In one 2011 study, it was found that people who had to shell their own pistachios consumed 41% fewer calories than those supplies with pre-shelled pistachios. Pistachios, like many nuts, are actually quite nutritious, being rich in unsaturated fats, fiber and antioxidants. But it is obviously possible to have way too much of a good thing!

Chocolate Toffee PistachiosHere at Maisie Jane’s we offer natural roasted in shell pistachios that are lightly salted, organic roasted and salted pistachios, also in shell, and roasted and salted pistachio kernels with the shell removed. We also offer Organic Chocolate Toffee Pistachios which are an absolutely divine treat dipped in butter toffee and milk chocolate! Sinfully delicious!

Maisie Jane’s California Sunshine Products, Inc. was founded on strong beliefs and passion for offering unique, flavorful, top-quality, nut products. We strongly believe in earth-friendly practices that start on our family owned and operated orchards. We use Organic farming practices and continue in the process by using all-natural ingredients with no preservatives or GMOs. We believe in honest, friendly and helpful customer relations at all levels. We take pride in every task, every day, with every person.