Pistachios are delicious and so versatile. Here is everything you need to know about pistachios and how to use them in cooking.
If you love pistachios as much as I do, you're going to enjoy this read. I've compiled everything you need to know about pistachios as well as various ways to use them in sweet and savory recipes.
Table Of Contents:
Everything About Pistachios
Traditionally found in regions such as Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia, pistachio is a nut from the cashew family. The nut has a cream colored shell that cracks open when ripe and a purple-pink skin with green flesh. The flavor is distinctive which makes it perfect for both savory and sweet uses.
It takes a pistachio tree about 10 years to reach full production and they peak at around 20 years. Pistachio trees can live up to 300 years!
Fresh Pistachios vs Roasted
Fresh pistachios have an extra layer of pink-cream skin around the hard cream colored shell. To eat, peel off the exterior skin and take the pistachio out of the shell. Roasted pistachios are widely available and you can find them at almost any supermarket. They lack the exterior skin and you only need to take them out of the shell for consumption.
Salted vs Unsalted
There are different varieties of roasted pistachios available, with the most popular ones being salted and unsalted. Salted pistachios are usually used for snacking and unsalted roasted pistachios are used for culinary purposes. You can also find flavored pistachios in some supermarkets with flavors such as chili and honey roasted.
Pistachios Come in Different Forms
Depending on the culinary use, pistachios come in different forms including whole shelled, unshelled, chopped, slivered or ground. You can purchase them shelled and sliced as desired, or do the preparation at home.
What To Make With Pistachios
Pistachios are also a popular addition to baklava, Persian saffron ice cream (bastani sonnati), dips and even kofta. It's common to use ground pistachios as garnish on Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean desserts including halva, mahalabia, date balls and ranginak.
How to Store Pistachios
It's best to store pistachios in an airtight container and refrigerate them. You can keep them refrigerated for up to a year. An open bag of pistachios keeps for a few weeks in the pantry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pistachios are a good source of fiber, healthy fats and protein. They may also lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
Yes, frozen pistachios (shelled or unshelled) can last for up to 2 years in the freezer.
The shells are very good for your garden. Use them as mulch; they will break down with time and release protein and carbon that benefits the soil.