Pistachio is a dry fruit, produced by a Mediterranean shrub, the true pistachio tree (Pistacia Vera) of the family Anacardiaceae.

It is in the form of a small seed of greenish colour and sweet flavor, housed in a hull that opens when the fruit is ripe.

The pistachio can be eaten raw, like almonds, or grilled. She often accompanies the aperitif. Pistachio is added to sauces, stuffing’s, terrines, pâtés, ice cream and pastries.

The pistachio tree originally grew in Central Asia, northeaster Iran, and northern Afghanistan where it was a remarkable feature of the local semi-arid "steppe forest" zone.

Pistachio was widely cultivated in the ancient Persian Empire, from which it gradually expanded to the west.

It was introduced in the Mediterranean region during the reign of "Emperor Tiberius", particularly in the eastern part.

In the first century, "Pliny" mentions the existence of pistachios in Syria, (used against snake bites) and indicates that "they were imported for the first time into Italy by "Vitellius" in the first century and in Hispania by the Roman knight "Flaccus Pompeius".

Culture has spread around the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

Roasted and salted pistachios are often served as an appetizer still in shell, with almonds, cashews and other appetizers. Processed into paste, they are used to flavor baklava, macaroons, ice cream, shortbread and other desserts or snacks.

They embellish mouhalabieh, a dessert cream with orange blossom and pistachio. They are also used for the preparation of main courses.

© 2018 Wessel Woortman

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