Pistachios are one of the oldest nuts that were commonly used in the world. They are native to Asia, particularly in Iran and Iraq. Archaeological evidence dates the association of pistachios and man as early as 6,000 BC. They were cultivated in Iran, Iraq, and Syria and were introduced to the Romans only in 100 AD. Today, apart from Iran, Iraq, and Syria, pistachios are being produced in many countries such as the United States, Australia, Turkey, and China, among others.
Pistachio nuts belong to the anacardaceae family from the genus: Pistacia. A pistachio tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. They are a drupe, where the fruit has a large seed in the center. This seed is edible. The nuts of pistachio are not seasonal and are available all year long. They can be bought from almost any grocery store.
Pistachios are available today in various forms such as shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted. The shell on the nut protects it from physical damage and various infections. On the other hand, salted and sweetened pistachios may not be a good choice because of their high sodium and sugar content. The ideal way is to buy unshelled nuts, as they are in their natural form and are the least processed. They must be stored in airtight containers in cool and dry places so that they can last for many months without going bad.