The pistachio (Pistacia vera L., Anacardiaceae or sometimes Pistaciaceae) is a small tree native to mountainous regions of Greece, Syria, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and western Afghanistan, that produces an important culinary nut. The fruit is a drupe, containing an elongated seed, which is the edible portion. The seed, commonly thought of as a nut, is a culinary nut, not a botanical nut. The fruit has a hard, whitish exterior shell. The seed has a mauvish skin and light green flesh, with a distinctive flavor. When the fruit ripens, the shell colour changes from green to an autumnal yellow/red and abruptly splits part way open. The kernels are often eaten whole, either fresh or roasted and salted. The toasted and salted pistachio are the ones which have been roasted in a hot oven and salted to improve the taste. They are usually eaten raw as snacks.
Whole pistachio- as the name suggests , it refers to the deshelled pistachios which are salted with the covering and sold.
Shelled pistachio- The shells of the nut can be removed manually or mechanically in a production unit and packaged after toasting and salting.
Chopped pistachio- The shelled pista are chopped into big or small pieces depending on the recipe needs.
Powdered pistachio- The roasted and salted pista can be ground into coarse or fine powder as per the recipe.
Sliced pistachio- The shelled pistachios can be sliced into thin or thick slices as per the recipe.
How to select
Check the expiry date and the sodium content of the pistachio on the pack. Roasted pistachio nuts can be artificially turned red if they are marinated prior to roasting in a salt and strawberry marinade, or salt and citrus salts. Choose the ones which are organically produced, if possible.
" The toasted and salted pistachios are usually enjoyed as a snack.
" Sprinkle salted pistachio on a salad or in a stir fry .
" Crushed pistachios can be used as a paste and added in many recipes.
How to store
Store in an airtight container and use within 3-4 months.
" Delicious and good-for-you, pistachios are nature's super heart-healthy snack. Nutrient dense, full of fibre and antioxidants, pistachios give you more bang per calorie than any other nut
" Like all nuts, pistachio nuts are an excellent source of protein. Unsalted pistachios have a high-potassium low-sodium content which helps to normalise blood pressure, maintain water balance in the body and strengthen muscles. Pistachio nuts are also a good source of vitamin E which boosts the immune system and alleviates fatigue. They contain lesser amounts of magnesium, phosphorous, iron and zinc.
" Most pistachio nuts are salted and because of the high sodium content should only be eaten in small quantities. But unsalted, they are an excellent addition to any diet, particularly vegan or vegetarian.