Pistachios grow on trees up to 12 meters high, which can be several hundred years old. However, the tree alternately bears plenty of drupes one year and few stone fruits the next. The nuts hang like grapes on the tree, the individual fruits are surrounded by a fleshy shell, underneath the oval core sits in a hard shell.
The home of the pistachio tree is Central Asia. Trees have been cultivated since ancient times. Today they are cultivated in California, Syria, Turkey, and Iran, among other places.
Pistachios are harvested in autumn. By shaking the trees, the drupes are thrown off and caught in nets. The fleshy exterior must be removed quickly after harvest to avoid discoloration of the skin. As the pistachio kernel grows, the hard shell cracks open on its own. The seed skin around the core then turns pink until it is ripe. The cores inside are light green.
Pistachios are aromatic with a sweet, nutty, and almond-like flavor.
In the Orient, people eat the kernels raw. We usually serve them roasted and salted as a snack. The green seeds are also available whole and chopped. Pistachios are suitable for making ice cream, sausage (mortadella), pralines – try our recipe for marzipan-pistachio pralines, for example -, for meat fillings, for refining desserts, fruit salads, and for decorating cakes.
Since pistachios contain a lot of fat, they can go rancid. Therefore, always store in a dry place in the dark and well packaged. Roasted pistachios will keep for about 5 months, fresh ones should be used sooner as they lose their green color quickly.
Nutritional value/active ingredients
Pistachio nuts contain approx. 587 kcal/2459 kJ per 100 g. They provide around 52% fat with 81% valuable, unsaturated fatty acids. In addition to vegetable protein and plenty of fiber, the seeds also contain vitamin E and lots of vitamin K, B1, pantothenic acid, lots of biotin, and folic acid, as well as the minerals phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, calcium and iron. The minerals phosphorus, copper, and magnesium as well as vitamin B1 and pantothenic acid contribute to a normal energy-yielding metabolism. The mineral potassium is responsible for maintaining normal blood pressure and calcium for maintaining normal bones. Iron and folate support normal blood formation and zinc and biotin help maintain normal skin. Vitamin E and manganese help protect cells from oxidative stress. Vitamin K ensures normal blood clotting.