Today, February 26th, is World Pistachio Day. Here are a few facts about this delicious nut.
1. The pistachio nut comes from the pistachio tree, native to western Asia – Turkey, Iran, Turkmenistan, and western Afghanistan.
2. Pistachios reached Europe from Iran at least as early as the 6th century. Today’s top pistachio manufacturing countries are Iran, US, Turkey, Syria, and China.
3. In the US, pistachios are cultivated mostly in California and New Mexico.
4. The pistachio “nut” is actually the seed of the tree fruit. This is what experts call a culinary nut, rather than a botanical nut.
5. The word “pistachio” originates from a mix of Persian and Latin.
6. If you thought a machine splits the shells open, you’re wrong. They split when the fruit ripens.
7. A pistachio tree produces 120 lbs. of nuts every two years. That’s around 50,000 nuts.
8. Nutrition 1: Pistachios are rich in mono-unsaturated fats (the good kind). Research on the health benefits of pistachios has shown that they may help reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower the risk of heart disease.
9. Nutrition 2: Pistachios are also rich in Thiamin (vitamin B1) and vitamin B6.
10. Nutrition 3: A 1 oz. serving of pistachios (40-50 nuts) contains over 10% of the FDA’s daily values for fiber, magnesium, copper, and phosphorous. It will set you back 150 calories.
What to do at the supermarket:
The one thing to look out for is excessively salted pistachios. If you need to watch your sodium levels, try un-roasted, un-salted pistachios.