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National Pistachio Day Feb. 26

Updated on August 16, 2014

Celebrate National Pistachio Day on Feb. 26

February 26 is not just an unusual holiday, but a very nutty one. It is National Pistachio Day.

In the Middle East, pistachios are known as the "smiling nut", in China, it is called the "happy nut". It is also referred to as the green almond because of the green kernel and the almond-shaped shell.

Pistachios are not only addicting and delicious, but also loaded with nutrients.

Celebrate today by eating Pistachios. They are great plain as a snack, in savory dishes, in ice cream, and in a wide range of desserts. So get cracking.

One of the oldest nuts on earth

A royal nut

Pistachio is one of the oldest flowering nut tree on earth dating back to 9000 B.C. It was one of two nuts, aside from almonds, mentioned in the bible (Genesis 43:11).

Legend has it that the Queen of Sheba hoarded all the pistachio nuts for herself and forbade commoners from growing them. King Nebuchadnezzar showcased them in his famed Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the world.

Because of its long storage life and nutritious value, pistachios were carried by explorers and travelers along 4000 miles of the ancient Silk Road which connected China with the West.

Photo Source: Wikipedia Commons

The pistachio is the seed fruit of Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, originating in Persia.

Clever and fun way to serve pistachio nuts - One bowl for the nuts and another for the shells.

One bowl for the nuts and another for the shells

Ototo Pistachio Nuts and Seeds Serving Melamine Bowl Set
Ototo Pistachio Nuts and Seeds Serving Melamine Bowl Set

Not only is this melamine pistachio bowl set playful and whimsical, it can be used to serve other nuts like peanuts, almonds, sunflowers seeds. Durable and easy to keep clean and store, this pistachio nut set makes a wonderful gift.

 

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Although known as a nut, the fruit of the pistachio is botanically a drupe, the edible portion of which is the seed.

It's a long wait to get the first nut

But well worth the wait

The pistachio tree that produces this nut is of the cashew family and has small brownish-green flowers and reddish wrinkled fruit borne in heavy grape-like clusters. The pistachio is actually a seed, not a nut.

Photo Credit:lonesomedove548

Pistachio trees are pollinated by the wind and not by bees. One male tree produces enough pollen for 25 nut-bearing females. Female trees produce their first nuts at about age five and can bear fruit for up to 200 years. Its a long wait to get the first nut.

Photo Credit:bradspry

When they ripen in late summer or early autumn, the green pistachio kernel grows inside and splits the nut. This split shell makes the pistachio unique.

Pistachios were introduced in a widespread manner to the U.S. in the 1880's. It was only in the 1970s that pistachios were commercially grown in the U.S.

With its Mediterranean-like climate, California's Central Valley is the only place where pistachios can be grown in the U.S. and today, California is the second largest producer of pistachios, next to Iran.

How pistachios are harvested

Automation makes pistachios more affordable

There are approximately 550 pistachio growers in the U.S. Ninety-eight percent of pistachios produced in the U.S. are grown in California's central valley. In the U.S., pistachios are usually harvested in late August to early September. These are shaken down by special machines which knock the pistachios onto a catching frame or tarp. This takes about a minute.The nuts are loaded onto containers and transported to the processing plant. Pistachio nuts must be hulled and dried immediately to preserve their delicate quality and to prevent their shells from staining. Pistachios are then sorted according to size, quality, colour and shape by means of sorting machines.

Watch these machines shake things up in the pistachio farms

Grow your own pistachios

How to Start a Pistachio Tree From Seed

Pistachios are sold in many forms and flavors

Pistachios raw and roasted meats

Turkish Antep Pistachios and Colossal California Pistachios

Red-colored Pistachios and Dark ChocolateCovered Pistachios

Have you ever seen a giant pistachio?

See the world's largest pistachio nut

The Smart Snack - good for your heart, eyes, and weight - Delicious and "nut-ritious"

If you want to supress your hunger pangs and need to snack, choose pistachios. Among all the nuts, these are one of the most nutritious.

This bowl has 49 nuts (1 oz.) which I prepared for this lens. It is the equivalent of 170 calories and chockful of different vitamins and minerals. Pistachios are antioxidant powerhouses which fights against free radicals. Pistachios also has a high fiber content compared to other nuts.

Pistachios make a wise snack choice as they contain dense levels of eight nutrients including thiamin, vitamin B6, copper, manganese, potassium, fiber, phosphorus and magnesium.

Pistachios are heart-friendly - These nuts love you back

Most nuts are known as fattening because these contain fats that are not good for you. Almost 90% of the fats in pistachio nuts are good fats, which are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids which reduce blood cholesterol levels and therefore lowers the risk of heart disease.

Good fats supply energy and are necessary for your body to absorb vitamins A, D, E and K. Pistachios are naturally free from trans-fat which are found in French fries, doughnuts and other foods fried in partially-hydrogenated oils.

Why not give someone you care about a bag of nutritious pistachio nuts.

Pistachios are eye-healthy - Eat more greens ---eat pistachios

One ounce of pistachio nuts (49 nuts) contains .36 mg. of lutein found in the green kernel which is equivalent to the same amount found in half a cup serving of broccoli. Lutein is concentrated in the retinas of you eyes, so it is a necessary part of good eyesight. Lutein contains anti-oxidant nutrient which reduces the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Pistachios care about your waistline - Has the lowest calorie content of all tree nuts.

A diet of pistachio does help you lose weight. Pistachios are lower in calories than other nuts. Pistachios also have one of the highest fiber contents than any other nuts. Fiber helps you feel full. A one ounce serving (about 49 nuts) is the equivalent to one serving bowl of oatmeal.

The protein and good fats take longer to digest than carbohydrates making you feel satisfied and not craving for more snacks. What a great way to keep your weight and waistline in check.

Pistachios are great weight and waist watchers - Empty shells help curb your appetite

A diet of pistachio does help you lose weight. In-shell pistachios take longer to eat and are filling. Prying the shells of each nut open takes time, and the growing heap of shells in the discard bowl makes one more mindful of how much nuts have been consumed. It is no wonder pistachios are also called the "Skinny Nut."

This bowl contains the shells of 49 pistachio nuts which I happily consumed for this lens. I met my daily allowance of fiber, lutein, and good fats and did not gain an ounce.

Next time you have a snack attack, reach for a bowl of nutritous pistachios. It's all good.

Pistachios are addicting - You still need to know when to stop

Pistachio shells do not stack well as shown by the empty shells spilling over the bowl. This is not the result of mindless nut eating in one seating, but were collected over a period of 3 days. The bowl holds 3 servings (3 oz.) and a total of 510 calories. Although it is not unusual for a pistachio fan to consume this much of the respectable nut especially while watching a football or baseball game on TV. Looking at the ever-growing heap of shells makes one conscious of how much has been consumed and will make one say enough is enough.

Chill Out with Pistachio Ice Cream Recipes

Pistachio ice cream is credited to James W. Parkinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1840 who made his creation a popular item in the American menu.

What's the scoop?

Here is a Sicilian-style top-notch Pistachio Gelato Recipe

Pistachios are uplifting in all these stories

This is Nuts!

Thank you Squidoo

On Feb.15, 2012, this lens was bestowed a Purple Star Award. I wholeheartedly thank the lensmaster who nominated this lens to be worthy of this honor.

Are you nuts about pistachios yet?

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    • julescorriere profile image

      Jules Corriere 5 years ago from Jonesborough TN

      I enjoyed reading your lens in Silly Celebrations for February. What a delicious day to celebrate.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      "Pistachios Care About Your Waistline", well that is reason enough to celebrate National Pistachio Day! I missed it this year, you covered the subject beautifully and only 359 days to go!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am nuts about pistachios and enjoyed my visit here!

    • MartieG profile image

      MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I love eating pistachios even more now that I have read all the good benefits! :>)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      delicious eating these!

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed this nicely laid out, interesting lens! Congrats and good luck!

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      I really enjoyed this nicely laid out, interesting lens! Congrats and good luck!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      A beautifully presented and well rounded lens. Blessed!

    • daedrea lm profile image

      daedrea lm 5 years ago

      I love pistachios. I don't have them much, but when I do I eat them all. I guess I have them like a delicacy.