Learn About Pistachios

Author: Chef Sydney

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What are Pistachios?

Pistachios are tree-grown fruit seeds that originate from Asia and the Middle East.  While pistachios are technically fruits, they are widely classified as nuts.  Pistachios grow in a beige or brown shell and the pistachio nut is bright green.  When the shell splits open, that means the pistachio is ripe.  Pistachio nuts are not crunchy and have a soft, smooth texture, but they are not as soft as cashews.  Packaged pistachios are shelled or unshelled, but are also sold as roasted, salted, or even sweetened.  Depending on how much pistachio is used in a recipe, the food may turn slightly green.

What Do Pistachios Taste Like?

Pistachios have a light, mild flavor, similar to cashews.  Some pistachios are roasted, salted, or sweetened, which changes the flavor.

Learn About Pistachios
Whole and cracked pistachios in a wooden bowl.

How Do You Eat Pistachios?

Pistachios can be eaten raw or cooked.  Many people enjoy packaged pistachios out of the container, but remember to remove the shells from unshelled pistachios before eating.  Pistachios work well in both savory and sweet dishes.  They serve as a crust to chicken or hearty vegetables like cauliflower.  Pistacho is a common ingredient in cookies, cakes, and even ice creams.  Chopped pistachios top salads, rice, and are even candied.  Pistachio nuts blend well into pestos, butters, soups, and sauces.

Where Can You Buy Pistachios?

Look for pistachios in the dried fruits and nuts section of the grocery store.  They may also be in the snack food aisle.

How Do You Store Pistachios?

Store pistachios in a sealed, airtight container or a resealable bag in a cool, dry place.

Fun Facts About Pistachios

Pistachio shells crack when the nut is ripe. Hearing a pistachio shell crack is a symbol of good luck. Once the shell cracks, the pistachio looks like it is smiling.

Did You Know?

Pistachios are related to mangos.

Recipes Using Pistachios

Pistachio Crusted Chicken

Coat your chicken in pistachios for a crunchy crust. Dip chicken strips in a mixture of olive oil, salt, pepper, maple syrup, and honey or Dijon mustard. Then, coat chicken in a mixture of pistachios and bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet and bake until the chicken is cooked.

Candied Pistachios

Make candied pistachios for a tasty snack. Add pistachios and sugar to a nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat for about 7-9 minutes. As the sugar melts, it coats the pistachios in a glaze.

Pistachio Pesto

Swap pine nuts for pistachios to twist a classic recipe. Place pistachios, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and parmesan in a food processor and blend until combined. Serve over pasta or spread over bread.

Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prepare your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe as directed. Instead of using regular chocolate chips, fold in white chocolate chips and chopped pistachios. Add in dried cranberries for an extra chewy component. Bake cookies until they are fully cooked and serve with a glass of milk.

Trail Mix

Create your own trail mix! Mix and match your favorite nuts, crunchy snacks, and dried fruits. Try adding pistachios, dried cherries, cashews, raisins, dried cranberries, and almonds together.


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