Pistachios belong to the oldest flowering crop plants and originate in the ancient Middle East. From there they were carried by merchant ships through the Mediterranean Sea as well as brought in by tribal market caravans to Europe, where they quickly became a popular nut on royal tables, as well as on the tables of those who could afford them. In an old legend the queen of Saga restricted common people from eating pistachios, as they were only to be saved for the royals.
And the king of Babylon, Nebukadnezar, demanded to plant pistachio trees in his garden. Finally, pistachios were brought by the Emperor Vitellius to Rome where they became, among other things, a colourant and a medicine against liver sclerosis and dental problems.
The Pistachio is truly a desert blossom
Wild pistachio trees originate from the steppes and the hillsides of the Central and Middle East and have been known for about 10,000 years. Nowadays the two largest cultivation areas are in the USA and in Iran, but the nuts are also grown in Turkey, Greece, Italy and Syria where the region called Aleppo is probably the most well known amongst them.
The botanical name of the pistachio nut is “Pistacia Vera”, it is a stone fruit from the pistachio tree. The trees can reach up to 8-12m tall and become 300 years old. It is a desert tree, adapted to the dry and desertlike regions. Extremely warm days and cold nights boost the growth of pistachios. It takes about 100 days at a temperature of under 7°C for the seed dormancy of the nuts. Mild winters, frosty springs or heavy rainfalls during the period of pollination can adversely affect the harvest.
Pistachio trees are harvested every two years, the kernels have a green-brown or violet colour and a hard shell. The taste of raw pistachio nuts is sweet. The higher the quality of the nuts, the brighter the green colour. There are about 60 different varieties of pistachios with names like Momtaz, Kalleghuchi or Fandoghi.
The nutritious qualities of Pistachios
Pistachios are popular in every corner of the world. The exact composition and the nutritional value of the pistachio oil depends to a large extend on the geographical conditions and the origin of the nut itself. The dietary fibre content of pistachio oil is as high as 10%. Moreover, the nuts are rich in potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, as well as vitamins A, B1, B2 and B6. Monounsaturated fatty acids in pistachio nuts help maintain stable sugar and glucose levels and decrease the risk of cardiac diseases, such as heart attack. These nuts are also believed to reduce hunger hormones and thus help to control appetite.
Mildly roasted to perfection
Pistachio nuts are grown on both male and female trees. Harvest season for pistachios is in September, when the nuts are ripe the shell bursts under the pressure of the kernel and the precious nut falls down and is enmeshed. The skins are then separated and the nuts are left to dry. The 3-step long drying process is very important to prevent any fungal growth, mould, germination and insect infestation. The temperature increase is mild and gentle to the kernels, so that the delightful taste of pistachios is not lost in the drying process. Pistachio nuts are a perfect snack, both shelled and unshelled. They are also an important ingredient found in many sweets, such as pralines, Mozart Kugeln (Austrian ball pralines) ice cream or even cold meats like mortadella.
KERNenergie Nut Master’s Favourites
KERNenergie pistachios are of the highest quality and originate from Iran. The fertile area of the Persian Gulf offers the perfect harvesting conditions for the best pistachio nuts. But don’t take our word for it, find out yourself and fill out our non-binding individualization requests form to place an order or just to receive a free consultation from someone in our friendly KERNenergie-Team. We offer the very best Persian pistachios with shell or unshelled, as well as our exquisite KERNenergie nut mixes. Try our Exotische Melange (Exotic Melange) with pistachios, peanuts, macadamias, pecans, almonds and pumpkin seeds.