How do pistachios grow?
Pistachio nuts have been used for food for more than 2.5 thousand years. Pistachios are called both fruits in the form of greenish nuts, eaten, and trees that give these fruits. The word "pistachio" itself came to our language from France, where it, in turn, is borrowed from Latin and Greek. In Greek, the word came from the Persian language from the word ‘pisteh ’. Iran is considered the birthplace of this wonderful plant. The word “pistachio” has been firmly included in the vocabulary of the Russian language since the 18th century.
Pistachio (Pistcia) - a small genus of trees or shrubs of the Sumakhov family (Anacardiaceae), common in subtropical, partially tropical regions of the Old and New Worlds. A well-known and appreciated plant in ancient times and a source of edible fruits is Real pistachioPistachio tree (Pististia vera) Is a species of the pistachio genus.
Calling pistachios nuts is not entirely true from a botanical point of view, since the fruit of the pistachio tree is drupe. What we call a nut is an intraocarp (bone), just like the almonds beloved by all. However, in cooking and in everyday life, it was established that any edible fruit, consisting of a shell and an edible kernel, is called a nut.
History of pistachios
For thousands of years, pistachio trees have grown in West Asia, from Syria to Afghanistan. They were especially revered in Persia and considered there as a symbol of wealth. Pistachios were appreciated for their creamy taste and nutritional value, they were favorite nuts in the imperial court of the Queen of Sheba. Interestingly, pistachios are one of only two nuts that are mentioned in the Bible.
During the Roman Empire, a pistachio tree was imported into Greece and Italy from Syria. Some historians indicate that after the fall of the Roman Empire, the cultivation of pistachios in Italy ceased, but subsequently the Arabs re-imported them to Sicily after the conquest of the island.
Pistachios are currently grown in Iran, Greece, Syria, Spain, Italy, Turkey, the USA and other countries.
In the New World, pistachios began to be cultivated commercially in the late 1890s in California. Today, the annual production of pistachios in the US is second only to Iran, the largest producer in the world. The vast majority of global supply of pistachios is consumed in the United States.
How do pistachios grow?
Pistachio tree is sometimes called green almond. This tree, sometimes growing up to 10 meters tall, grows on rocky, poor soils, steep slopes and in areas with cool winters (pistachio tree tolerates frost up to 20 degrees). It tolerates drought well, unpretentious in care.
The trunk of this pistachio is curved, usually inclined and ribbed. The bark on the old branches is light gray, on the annual - reddish-brown. The roots go 10-12 m in depth, and extend to 20-25 m around.
Pistachio is a dioecious plant. Stamen flowers in thick, complex, fairly wide panicles, 4-6 cm long. Varicose flowers in rarer and narrower panicles, about the same length, perianth of three to five oblong, unequal, slightly wider than stamen flowers, leaves 2-4 mm long.
The fruits of this pistachio are large (several times larger than that of other species of this genus) drupe 0.8-1.5 cm long, 0.6-0.8 cm wide. When ripe, the pericarp is easily separated. The seed kernels are greenish, edible, oily.
Pistachio blossoms in March - May. Fruits in July - September.
Beautiful leaves and clusters of reddish-wrinkled fruits make it attractive as an ornamental plant.
Harvest pistachios in late July - early September. The nuts are first dried in the sun - after which they can be stored, but not more than one year. Sometimes they are also soaked in saline and fried.
Nuts are harvested when the outer husk covering the nut weakens. They fall easily enough if the tree is shaken. The husk is covered with a pale green walnut enclosed in a beige color. One tree can produce about 25 kilograms of peeled nuts. When placed in airtight packaging, fried pistachios are stored for several months. If they are frozen, they will be stored for many years and retain their taste and minerals.
Pistachio is considered one of the best "nuts", 80-90% of pistachios (fried and salted in the shell) are consumed as a snack. Unroasted, peeled pistachios have a sweet taste and are used in cooking.
Useful properties of pistachios
Unsalted pistachios are very healthy foods, however, they are rich in fats. This nut is high in potassium, low in sodium, helps regulate fluid balance in the body, and normalizes blood pressure. Pistachios are an excellent source of proteins, they contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, thiamine, zinc, vitamin B6 and vitamin E.
Pistachios have a low cholesterol content compared to other nuts. They are high in fiber and low in saturated fat, but high in monounsaturated fat, which reduces the risk of heart attack. Pistachios also contain an antioxidant that reduces the risk of developing diseases such as cancer.
Pistachios are used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Indian cuisines, unsalted pistachios are a great addition to a vegetarian diet. They are excellent when used as ingredients in snacks, bread, cookies, ice cream and other sweets, muffins, pastes, salads, sauces, fillings for fish and meat, as well as for decoration.
The healthy attributes of pistachios are valued in many countries, especially in Syria, where visitors are often given a bag of pistachios as a farewell gift.