February 26th is National Pistachio Day!
A Great Snack for “On The Go”
February 26th is set aside for all pistachio lovers to eat their favorite nut all day long. Pistachios are a great snack while you are on the go or on the road. Crack them open and eat them up or enjoy them in ice cream or your favorite dessert!
Pistachios arrived in the United States sometime in the 1880s, but they have been cultivated in the Middle East since Biblical times. The pistachio tree grows to about 20 feet tall needing little or no rain and must have high heat. Amazingly, the oldest tree is rumored to be 700-year-old! A new tree takes between 7 and 10 years to mature and bear fruit.
- All pistachio shells are naturally beige in color.
- California produces about 300 million pounds of pistachios each year, accounting for 98 percent of America’s production.
- Pistachio shells typically split naturally when ripe.
- They are enjoyed either fresh or roasted and either salted or unsalted.
- In the Middle East, people call the pistachio the smiling nut.
- In China, people call the pistachio the happy nut.
Grab a Handful!
“Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin B6, copper, and manganese and a good source of protein, fiber, thiamine, and phosphorus. Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces (42.5g) per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.”
Recycle the Pistachio Shells!
The empty pistachio shells are useful for recycling in several ways. If unsalted, the shells need not be washed and dried before reuse. Washing is simple if that is not the case.
Practical uses include a fire starter or kindling to be used with crumpled paper. Line the bottom of pots containing houseplants for drainage and retention of soil for up to two years. Also, you can use them as a mulch for shrubs and plants that require acid soils, as a medium for orchids, and as an addition to a compost pile designed for wood items that take longer to decompose than leafy materials. It can take up to a year for pistachio shells to decompose unless the soil is added to the mix.
Shells from salted pistachios can also be placed around the base of plants to deter slugs and snails. Many craft uses for the shells include holiday tree ornaments, jewelry, mosaics, and rattles. Research indicates that pistachio shells may be helpful in cleaning up pollution created by mercury emissions.