Pistachio is a popular food which we usually considered as a nut but it is actually drupe. It is used widely in many countries from Asia to Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Pistachio originated to the western Asia and Arabia and was used as food around six to seven millennia BC. From Syria of this area, pistachio was introduced to Italy early of the first century AD by the Romans. The seed was then spread to other countries of Europe around sixth century AD (as Late Antiquity).
To the middle of 19th century, pistachio was introduced to some states of the US as garden trees, and then to the early of 20th century, it became more popular as commercial plant.
Nowadays, pistachio is cultivated in many areas, especially the western and western south Asia, United States (mainly in California), China, and some other countries. It is consumed widely in different areas as different types of dishes (both sweet and savory) and snacks…
Pistachio or Pistacia vera is a member of Anacardiacea – cashew family of the flowering plants. The plants grow well in hard climate especially high temperature. They are known to be high tolerant to the saline oil and could survive as lowest temperature to -10o C (14o F) and highest to 48o C (118o F). They’re required well-drained soil condition in winter to avoid getting susceptible to the root and long, hot summer for the fruits to ripen properly. It cost about 7-10 years for Pistacia vera to give significant production. The harvesting then could elongate to 20 years.
As a drupe, the pistachio fruit includes three layers: the cover layer, the flesh and a shell protect an edible seed inside. This shell is hard with beige color and oval shaped and usually split apart when ripen. The kernel is in yellow-green color and has distinct fatty flavor.
After harvested, it will be hulled, dried then roasted or processed to get the kernels and provided to the market for different produced purposes.
Pistachio and culture
In many cultures such as Russian, Chinese, India, Vietnamese…pistachio is considered as a symbol of happy, luck and health. It’s possible caused from the outlook of the seed. When ripen and still not be processed, the shells of pistachio seeds didn’t split wholly and it makes them look like smiling.
For that reason, pistachio is used as a gift of luck in the New Year. In some areas, it is also used in sweets and snacks for holidays.