Pistachio is one of the oldest nuts that had been grown in the middle east’s around thousands of years.Pistachio nuts belong to the Anacardiaceae family from the genus Pistacia. A pistachio tree takes about 10 to 12 years to produce the first crop. They have a sweety sweet flavor. Pistachios have several health benefits. They contain a good amount of nutrients like proteins, fiber and antioxidants.
Prevents Macular Disease or AMD
Lutein and zeaxanthin have been found in pistachios which helps to reduce the risk of macular degeneration that occurs in old age.
Pistachios help to remove the dryness from the skin. This is because of the fats it contain, it helps to make the skin beautiful.
Pistachios contain vitamin B6 which helps in building the amino acids and it also helps to maintains the nervous system.
Low in calories
Pistachios is one of the lowest calorie nuts. One ounce of pistachios contains just 159 calories.
Good for eye health
The antioxidants present in pistachios like lutein and zeaxanthin are important for eye health. It helps reduce the conditions of cataracts. Pistachios alsop helps to maintain the eye health.
Beneficial for gut health
Pistachios helps to prevent gut disease and constipation. It also increases the number of good bacteria in the gut.
Helpful for weight loss
Since pistachios are low in calories, they are an ideal snack for diet. It helps to maintain weight.
Important for heart health
Pistachios helps in protecting from cardiovascular disease. It also reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
May Benefit Your Blood Vessels
Pistachios contain amino acid L-arginine, which is converted to nitric oxide in the body. Which helps in promoting healthy blood vessel in the body.
Good for blood sugar balance
Pistachios reduce high blood sugar levels in the body and lowers the risk of diabetes.
Reduce colon cancer risk
Pistachios reduce the risk of colon cancer as it contains high fiber content.
Pistachios Contain Beneficial Antioxidants
Pistachios contain lot of antioxidants like lutein, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol. It helps in preventing the oxidative damage in the body and lower LDL cholesterol in the body.
Pistachios should be consumed in evening. Pistachios meld with the subtle goodness of Chevre cheese, an ideal contact to the sweet dried apricots.
Ways to use pistachios
Pistachios can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Pistachios can be eaten alone as a snack, on top of a salad, mixed with dried fruits in trail mix, in baked goods, or as a crunchy coating for fish or meat.
- The nuts are usually eaten as they are, by splitting them open between fingers or using a nutcracker machine. They can also be enjoyed roasted, salted, or sweetened, just as in macadamia and peanuts.
- Pistachios are nutty, yet pleasantly sweet in taste with a fruity aroma. Baklava, a sweet pastry made of layers of paper-thin “phyllo or strudel dough” filled with chopped pistachio, almonds, and cashew nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey, is a popular pastry preparation in Turkey, Iran, Armenia, and many Middle East states.
- Roasted and crushed, its kernels can be sprinkled over salads, desserts, particularly sundaes and other ice cream based dessert preparations (for example, kulfi in the Indian subcontinent), biscuits, sweets and cakes.
- Split pistachios are a great addition to vegetable/fruit salads.
- Popularly known as “pista,” these nuts have been widely used in sweet dishes in Indian, Pakistani and other South-East Asian countries.
- They can be used to make pesto or nut butter.
How to buy and store pistachios
Pistachios can be bought from any grocery store. They are available in various forms such as shelled, unshelled, sweetened or salted. Unshelled pistachios are in their natural form so it is recommended to buy them. They must be stored in airtight containers in cool and dry places so that they can last for many months without going bad.
Season in which pistachio is available
Pistachios are available from september to october.
How to make Carrot Pistachio Coconut Cake Recipe
- 250 grams Carrots (Gajjar), finely grated
- 4 Whole Eggs
- 240 ml Canola Oil, or any flavorless oil
- 290 grams Sugar, granulated
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- 250 grams Vivatta Maida
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 40 grams Pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon Powder (Dalchini)
- 40 grams Fresh coconut, toasted and shredded
- To begin making the Carrot Pistachio Coconut Cake recipe, preheat your oven at 180 degree C for 10 minutes.
- Prepare either two 9 inch round pans or one 10 inch bundt pan by coating with butter/oil and dusting with flour.
- Now peel and finely grate the carrots and keep them aside. Chop pistachios coarsely. Do not make them super fine.
- Slightly toast the shredded coconut over medium flame for about 2-3 minutes. Do not brown them. We just need to bring out crunchiness of coconut.
- With the help of hand mixer, beat all the 4 eggs until they are frothy.
- Slowly, add sugar and continue beating till the mixture doubles in volume and looks pale yellow (about 4 minutes).
- Now add oil in the above mixture and then beat in the vanilla extract. Mix it properly. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon in a bowl.
- Add the flour mixture in the egg-sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated. Finally, fold in the grated carrots, chopped pistachios and toasted coconut gently in the above batter.
- If using 9 inch round pans, divide batter in the two pans equally and bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- If using bundt pan, the time to bake will increase to about 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack
- After about 5 to 10 minutes invert the cakes onto the wire rack and let it cool completely.
- Serve Carrot Pistachio Coconut Cake along with Espresso Coffee and Cucumber Sandwich with Yogurt and Dill Spread Recipe for your tea break.
How to make Bengali Holud Mishti Pulao Recipe
- 1 cup Basmati rice, (gobindo bhog)
- 1/4 cup Green peas (Matar), steamed (optional)
- 11 inch Ginger, grated
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
- 1/4 teaspoon Cumin powder (Jeera)
- 14 teaspoon Turmeric powder (Haldi)
- 2 Bay leaves (tej patta), roughly torn
- 1 inch Cinnamon Stick (Dalchini)
- 3 Cardamom (Elaichi) Pods/Seeds
- 3 Cloves (Laung)
- 1/2 teaspoon Mace powder
- Saffron strands, few
- For Seasoning
- 3 tablespoon Ghee
- 2 tablespoons Cashew nuts, halved
- 2 tablespoons Raisins
- 2 tablespoon Pistachios, roughly chopped
- To begin making Bengali Holud Mishti Pulao Recipe (Saffron Flavored Rice With Nuts), firstly we will cook the rice in a pressure cooker along with 1 tablespoon ghee, ginger and 2 cups of water until done.
- Once done, allow it to rest.
- In a small pan, heat a little ghee. Add bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, elaichi and cloves. Cook it for 10 to 15 seconds.
- After 10 to 15 seconds, add cashews, raisins, pistachios, cumin powder, turmeric powder, nutmeg powder, mace powder, saffron strands.
- After 1 minute, add in the cooked rice, green peas and sugar and give it a mix. Let it cook for 2 more minutes and serve hot.
- Serve your flavored Bengali Holud Mishti Pulao (Saffron Flavored Rice With Nuts) with Shorshe Ilish (Hilsa in Mustard Sauce) or Bengali Doi Maach recipe for a weekday meal.
Safety profile for using pistachio
Overconsumption of pistachios could cause side-effects like:
- Weight Gain: This high-protein nut can make you gain weight drastically if you consume more than the suggested count, every day.
- Blood Pressure: Consuming roasted pistachios seasoned with salt frequently will end up increasing your blood pressure.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: It may cause digestive distress if your body reacts to the compound fructans, present in pistachios. The side effects may include constipation, bloating, abdominal pain, flatulence, and diarrhea.
Fun facts about pistachios
- 98% of the pistachios produced in the United States are from California. Iran is the largest producer of pistachios in the world.
- February 26 is National Pistachio Day.
- Pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, and are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11). Humans have eaten pistachio nuts for at least 9,000 years.
- According to legend, pistachios were featured in the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon, built about 700 B.C. by King Nebuchadnezzar for his wife Amytis.
- In the first century A.D., Emperor Vitellius introduced Rome to the pistachio. Apicius, Rome’s Julia Child of the first century, includes pistachios in his classical cookbook.
- Perhaps a true royal nut, the Queen of Sheba loved pistachios. In fact, she demanded that the entire region’s pistachio harvest be set aside for her.
- Pistachios are related to the mango and the spice sumac.
- In China the pistachio is known as “the happy nut” and in Iran as “the smiling nut”. Pistachios are also known as “the green almond”.
- Pistachios are an edible, ovoid nut, encased in a shell, and are native to some Middle Eastern countries, as well as some neighbouring countries in Asia and Europe, and they have been cultivated for thousands of years.
- The pistachio plant that the nuts grow on, is generally a small tree with the scientific name Pistacia vera, from the family Anacardiaceae, the family of cashews, which also includes mangoes and pink peppercorns; and once ripe, the nuts are shaken from the tree as part of the harvesting process.
- A single pistachio tree can reach up to 10 metres (33 feet) in height, and can produce approximately 50 kilograms (110 pounds) of nuts over a period of two years, and one year is generally a high yield year, while the other year produces a lower quantity of nuts.
- Pistachio nuts are small, generally ranging from 1.5 to 2.2 centimetres (0.6 to 0.87 inches) and weighing roughly 1 to 2 grams (0.03 to 0.07 ounces), with the shell intact.
- When ripe, the hard shell of pistachios will commonly crack and split halfway while still inside the hull, which is removed after harvesting, allowing access to the edible kernel without the use of a nutcracker.
- The shells of pistachios are naturally coloured a pale sandy brown, however they may be artificially coloured green or red, a tradition first begun when hand pickers were used, to disguise any handling damage; while the kernel and its skin is usually a green to purple colour.
- Generally, pistachios are eaten raw or roasted, often as a snack; are occasionally added to desserts or used in baked goods, or added to ice cream or chocolate; and they are commonly purchased already salted.
- Iran, in the Middle East, was the greatest producer of pistachios in 2013, producing more than half of the world’s annual quantity, with 478,600 tonnes (527,566 tons), while it is said that China is the greatest consumer at 80,000 tonnes (88,185 tons) annually.
- Along with causing reactions in those people who are allergic to tree nuts, pistachios are susceptible to a mould that can be dangerous to human health, if not harvested quickly and correctly.
- Pistachios are very high in vitamin B6, thiamine, copper, manganese, phosphorus, protein, fibre and fat, and they contain many other vitamins and minerals.