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Pistachios are grown in climates that have hot dry summers and cold winters.  Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Italy and the United States (California) now cultivate pistachios.  The Middle Eastern nuts are more expensive but have more sweetness and depth of flavor. 

The tan shell of the pistachio nut is almost impenetrable before the nut matures.  Once it ripens though, the shell cracks open to reveal a delicate, sweet flavored, soft- textured, pale green and purple nut with a papery reddish-brown skin.

The pistachio nut used to be dyed a glaring pink-red so the nut would stand out (do not use this type in baking).  Today they are still sold this way but can also be found in their natural state.  Available year round shelled and unshelled, raw or roasted, salted or unsalted. 

Pistachios are used in both sweet (cookies, breads, ice creams and as a garnish) and savory dishes (particularly Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Indian cuisines).

As with other nuts they should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer (about 6 months) in airtight containers or plastic bags. 

Pistachios are rich in calcium, thiamine, phosphorus, iron and vitamin A.


1 cup whole = 150 grams