Not so Nuts

Let’s take an escapade with a plant native to the Arab world and Central Asia. Areas like Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan act as major contributors to the plight of this plant. Our featured plant grows as a small tree. It delivers delectable, edible seeds that are enjoyed by cultures all over the world.

As the 19th century unfolded, the tree meandered its way over to the United States. Flourishing in states like California, Arizona and New Mexico. Hovering around 25-30 feet tall and amazingly, it can live upwards of 300 years.

Oftentimes misconstrued as a nut, these sweet morsels are technically classified as seeds.

Have you zeroed in on it? I think you might be on the right track. Okay then…

Let’s circumvent the pistachio tree!

The edible portion of a pistachio tree is the seed. It grows inside the tree fruit, which is known as a drupe. The drupe hardens as it dries out, enclosing the seed inside a hard shell. Sometimes the shell splits as it hardens. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the pop as it cracks open. Pretty neat to hear natural sounds of flora like that.

Pistachios are an extremely healthy snack. Copious amounts of nutrients crammed inside one tiny seed. Some of the more popular health benefits include the following.

  • High in protein, but low in calories (unlike most nuts, which are high in calories).
  • More antioxidants in a pistachio than most other nuts or seeds. This helps prevent cell damage in the human body. Also reduces the risk of cancer and other nasty diseases.
  • Pistachios are one of the biggest hitters in regards to Vitamin B6. Plays a vital role in keeping our immune system and nervous systems healthy.
  • High in potassium. Since the human body doesn’t produce potassium naturally, it’s critical to eat foods containing potassium.
  • High source of fiber. This helps normalize our bowel movements, amongst other things.

As with any food, consuming to much of any one thing is not a good idea. If you buy roasted pistachios from a store, be careful, they are usually salted. This renders them high in sodium and eating to much sodium can lead to heart disease or high blood pressure.

A pistachio tree is difficult to grow. Found almost exclusively in orchards due to the complications of growing such bountiful trees. It takes nearly a decade before you will see any significant crop form. It’s more like 20 years before a tree operates at a peak performance.

Growing a pistachio tree is hindered by one major factor. Both a male and female tree are required to produce fruit. One male tree can handle about 25-30 female trees. They should be planted close to one another. Pollen from the male tree will hitch a ride in the wind to pollinate the female trees. She then bears the weight of the fruit. Raise your hand if this sounds familiar ladies!

Some of the finest pistachio trees in the world are located in Sicily. Rich volcanic soil make it an ideal growing site. Police must keep patrols in the area to ensure everything is kosher with their prized trees.

When ready to eat, cracking open a shell can be an arduous task. Some come with a natural crack, making them easier to open. Other shells are closed up completely and you will need to apply significant force to crack them open.

The pistachio is a fixture in many cultures around the world. Chinese cultures consider them a “happy nut.” The cracked shell gives it the appearance of a smiling face. They are often gifted as a sign of happiness and good fortune.

In the Middle East, pistachio trees have fueled the economy dating back thousands of years ago. Iran is currently the leading producer in the world. The United States follows close behind.

As our pistachio trip draws to a close, we end with a few fun facts.

China consumes more pistachios than any other nation. With an increasing appetite for these delicious seeds, prices continue to climb. The world has finally become wise to the host of health benefits pistachios provide.

The closest botanical relatives of the pistachio tree include cashews, poison ivy and mangos. If you’re asking yourself, how are these plants related, it may help to recall my blog on poison ivy. The sap that fuels the PI rashes, is known as urushiol. This same sap is found in varying potencies in these trees.

February 26th is National Pistachio Day. A day when lovers of the tree prepare meals, share recipes and frolic in the joy they have for everything pistachio!

48 responses to “Not so Nuts”

  1. That is so interesting! I don’t know all of this about pistachios

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Melissa, glad you liked the article 🙂

      Like

  2. wow! good info here!!! Our family loves nuts. we have walnut trees in our backyard, but it’s interesting to know more about Pistachio! Surprised Turkey is not here bec they have a lot of baklavas with Pistachios as well. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It’s funny you mention that, I thought about adding a segment on baklava. Keep enjoying the nuts, healthy snack choice!

      Like

  3. Great post! I seriously love pistachios (as an Iranian we LOVE to use pistachios in food and sweets). Very informative and fun to read

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sonny. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Like

  4. lindseydelossantos Avatar
    lindseydelossantos

    I will never think about these quite the same and I think I have overlooked them in my meal planning:).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Lindsey! So many of our plants are truly amazing, like our pistachio tree.

      Like

  5. Highly informative, I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure!

      Like

  6. Thanks for this interesting and informative post. It’s only during the past two years, since becoming a vegetarian, that I’ve added pistachios to my diet. Thanks for the follow 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Such a good addition to a vegetarian diet. 👍🏽

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I enjoyed reading this so much. Now I know how really special pistachios are. Lovely share.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, a truly special tree. Stay tuned for more remarkable plants ill be covering over the next few months. 🌿🌱

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely fascinating!! I’m following your posts !@

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m really glad you’ve decided to follow along 🙂

      Like

  9. Absolutely fascinating!! I’m following your posts !

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very interesting and informative article. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Ronit, I’m glad you enjoyed it!

      Like

  11. wild!!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow, that is fascinating! Makes me want to go out and buy some unsalted pistachios! They are delicious 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I think that’s a great decision!😁

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I have a huge pistachio tree that I planted 10 years ago or more, but I have only had one edible seed from it in all that time. I see tons of green seeds and then suddenly they all disappear. I don’t notice squirrels or birds eating them. Any idea???

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you planted a pistachio tree! They are a tricky tree to produce fruit from. A male and female tree are both needed for the female tree to produce her fruit every year.

      Like

      1. There are two other pistachio trees within a block from me. I live in Mexico, by the way. It sounds as though the male trees flower but don’t produce seeds..If so, mine has to be a female. It is a beautiful shade tree, but I guess I’ll have to go on buying my pistachios.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Plants are pretty remarkable! Maybe one of these years she will get the pollen she needs from her male counterpart. 😁

        Like

  14. I really love these pistachios..I buy them in Costco..yum

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do the same! 🤣😁

      Like

  15. Very interesting article. I knew basically nothing about pistachios until now. Very enlightening.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Karen! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😄

      Like

  16. Very cool article! We love to eat pistachios as a snack, but I also use them a lot when cooking. I love learning about the history and little-known facts behind some of our favorite things. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you use pistachios in your cooking! Glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for the comment. 🌱😄

      Like

  17. I knew basically none of this. Interesting to read! Thanks for the info!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amanda! Glad you enjoyed it 😁

      Like

  18. Boy, I never knew the patience that was involved in growing pistachios. 20 years until optimum output, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Who knew the patience involved in growing pistachios. 20 years to optimum output, wow!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well worth the wait… 😁

      Like

  20. bravestepsproject Avatar
    bravestepsproject

    Wow, quite informative. So interesting about the fruit production process needing male and female trees.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s truly fascinating. 🌱

      Like

  21. Pistaccios grow around Mt Etna in Sicily. Very interesting article.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it 😁🌱

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Another fun and informative post.. 😀
    I find it fascinating how there are so many differences in growing the many different fruits and vegetables and how exacting some of the conditions required from germination to producing fruit… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same with me Carol! The more we learn, the more fascinating our plants become. I’m so happy you have been enjoying the articles. 🌱😁

      Liked by 2 people

  23. Absolutely, Mike that’s one of the joys of the internet we can continue to learn for as long as we want 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Pistachios are my favourite! 💚
    (I usually use half of a shell to pry open the others, works every time and saves my fingers and nails😅)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Excellent tip. Thanks Luci!!

      Liked by 1 person

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