I recently came across some pistachios still in their pods and was so intrigued as I am a huge fan. I had to investigate as we snack on them a lot as a family and I love them in baking.
They grow in grape like clusters and have been around since The Stone Age as some archaeological finds have dated them back to as early as 7,000 B.C! They are native to the Middle East and were cultivated as a delicacy. I read that the Queen of Sheba declared they were only to be eaten by royals. The Romans first brought them to Europe and from there onwards our love affair began.
Nowadays, they are cultivated mainly in the Middle East – Iran, Turkey and Syria but also in California. They grow in grape like bunches and the hull ripens in late Summer to a rosy colour and splits to reveal the shell and beautiful green kernel. These kernels we know as a baking ingredient or snack food were dried and used in India to dye clothes.
Pistachios are rich in lots of nutrients. Vitamin B and fibre for example but also potassium and protein. A handful of pistachios – say 30g has about 15% of your recommended fibre intake and around 160 calories. Some people do say that nuts are fatty. I looked into this and apparently pistachios are mostly (90%) unsaturated fat which has a positive effect on your body.
So with all that in mind, here are three simple pistachio recipes for you to try.
Pistachio and Orange Cake – I’ve used ground pistachios in the cake and also whole ones to decorate.
and Pistachio and Chocolate Macarons – I’ve substituted ground almonds with pistachios which gives this natural green colour.
Pistachio and Chocolate Biscotti - The green goes so well with the chocolate and these get crunchier with age!
What do you do with pistachios? Are they simply a snack? Share some of your favourite recipes!