Although commonly thought of as nuts, pistachios are actually the seeds of a plant belonging to the cashew family. It is believed that pistachios were first consumed in the Middle East as far back as 6750 BC. Today, Iran, the United States, and Turkey are the world’s leading producers of pistachios. They are enjoyed for their unique nutty taste, their excellent nutritive value, and their impressive versatility, with a wide range of culinary applications for the pistachio all over the world. From snacks and salad toppings to ice creams and other sweet treats like baklava, Turkish delight, and nougat- the nut offers a compelling ingredient for countless dishes thanks to its rich, distinctive palate.
Turkish Pistachios Vs. California Pistachios
Turkish pistachios: Turkey is the largest exporter of pistachios into the United States and ranks third in overall production behind the U.S. and Iran. Turkish Antep pistachios are named after the city in Turkey where they’re produced. Antep pistachios are the most popular variety of Turkish pistachios, and are prized for their delicious savory flavor and delicate hint of sweetness. They are often used for snacking and for making baklava and Turkish delight. Siirt pistachios are grown in the Siirt province of Turkey, and are more rare than Anteps. They have a very distinct pistachio flavor and are larger than Antep pistachios, but smaller than the California variety.
California pistachios: California’s warm, dry climate provides ideal growing conditions for pistachios. California pistachios are typically larger with the kernel more exposed, making them easier to open than Turkish varieties; additionally, their flavor tends to be milder, lending to a wider variety of uses. In-shell California pistachios are enjoyed for snacking while out-of-shell varieties make a wonderful addition to salads and dishes or a delectable sweet when coated with chocolate. In the 1930’s, California pistachios were dyed red to hide stains from harvesting and attract more attention to the bins of pistachios sold in stores.
Nutrition & Health Benefits
Pistachios are lauded for their unique savor, but the nuts should also be celebrated for their various health benefits. Learn some of our favorite features of these nuts with the list below.