Pistachios are called “happy nuts” or “smiling nuts” in some countries. There are many reasons for this. They not only add a beautiful fresh look to baking and cooking, but they also taste like more and are a powerhouse of nutrients.
Health benefits of PISTACHIO NUTS
- Pistachio nuts are high in dietary fibre. The soluble dietary fibre in the nuts plays a role in glucose absorption and maintaining a healthy blood cholesterol level, while the insoluble dietary fibre helps to keep the gut healthy.
- Pistachio nuts are high in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA’s). Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats (such as MUFA’s) in the diet contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels.
- Pistachio nuts are high in copper (30 g serving). Copper aids in the formation of bone. It also contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system and the nervous system.
- These bright green nuts get their colour from a natural plant pigment, chlorophyll. Yes, this is the same pigment you learnt about it school, which is responsible for the absorption of light to provide energy for photosynthesis. Chlorophyll occurs naturally in green fruits and vegetables and has been said to have many health benefits, including amongst others increased energy, gut health and anti-ageing properties.
- Pistachios are available in various forms such as shelled, unshelled or roasted and salted.
- Crushed pistachios can be sprinkled over desserts, particularly sundaes and other ice cream-based dessert, biscuits, sweets and cakes.
- Add them as a topping on salads or yoghurt.
- Crush or grind them and use in pasta or to season meats, salsas and stir-fries.
- Split pistachios are a great addition to vegetable/fruit salads.
DID YOU KNOW?
Pistachios are not actually nuts, they are the seeds of the pistachio tree. The fruit grows in bunches like grapes. When the fruit ripen they are harvested, the seeds separated from the fruit, which is also known as the husks, and the seeds dried/roasted. Pistachio shells split on their own once the fruit are ripe, exposing the delicious green seed, which we call pistachio nuts.
Pistachio originated from West and Central Asia where still large areas of natural populations exist in Syria. Pistachio reached the Mediterranean by way of central Iran, not before medieval times. This crop is cultivated mainly in the Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean regions of Europe and California. Montagu’s Pistachio nuts are imported from the USA.