Pistachio nuts always make me think of lots of shells. My children like them but since usually they are sold in the shell it means lots of little shells around and I don't tend to like the mess. I do like pistachio nuts though.
These nuts grow on trees and harvested in late August to early October. The trees originated in western Asia and Asia Minor and now grow throughout the western USA as well. The world's major pistachio producing areas are Iran, Turkey, and the San Joaquin Valley of California.
Most trees begin to bear fruit between 5 and 7 years of age and bear two crops per year, one heavy and one light (biennial). The fruits grow in clusters resembling grapes. Although popularly known as a nut, the fruit of the pistachio is classified botanically as a drupe, the edible portion of which is the seed.
Nutritional Value of Pistachio Nuts
Pistachio nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and an excellent source of antioxidants.
Regular consumption of pistachios in the diet helps to lower total as well as bad LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol levels within the blood.
Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin-E. These nuts are very high in minerals like copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium.
100 g nuts provide 144% of daily-recommended levels of copper. Copper is an essential trace mineral that is required in the normal function of the nervous system and blood cell production.
Pistachios are high in the complex of B vitamins.
How to Use Pistachio Nuts
These nuts are best-purchased whole and in their shells. Whole nuts should feature healthy looking, off the white color shell and feel heavy in the hand. They should be free from cracks other than the natural split, mold, spots, and of rancid smell. They can be kept this way for several months. Shelled nuts should be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator until eaten.
Pistachio nuts are delicious just shelled and eaten right on the spot. They can also be roasted, salted, or sweetened and enjoyed that way.
Some yummy recipes around the web
Where to Buy Pistachio Nuts
Since these grow in the Western USA if you live out that way your best option is to find a farmer who grows them and buy off the farm. But if like me you live on the East Coast and that is not an option you can order through the internet. Nuts.com has many choices for pistachio nuts.