The pistachio, (Pistacia vera) a member of the cashew family, is a small tree originating from Central Asia and the Middle East.
Pistachios are one of the healthiest nuts available due to their high content of protein, calcium, iron, copper, oleic acids, and antioxidants such as vitamins A & E.
Pistachios contain less fat than most other nuts and are inclined to be alkaline-forming which is essential in healing illnesses and disease.
Pistachios are incredibly nourishing for the blood as well as the immune system, cardiovascular system, muscular system, and nervous system.
They are also an excellent weight loss aid. Just one handful a day can help to curb your appetite and keep you energized throughout the day.
Pistachios are known to help lower lipids and lipoproteins in the blood which ultimately helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.
Raw pistachios are highly beneficial for constipation, dry skin, and for toning the liver and kidneys. Pistachios can help to prevent coronary artery disease, strokes, infections, memory loss, type 2 diabetes, insomnia, neurological disorders, skin cancer, and macular degeneration.
For ultimate health benefits, choose raw, unsalted nuts that are natural in color (meaning no red or green dye).
Pistachio nut oil is also excellent for revitalizing and nourishing the skin and is excellent for massage therapy and cosmetic use as well.
Consider finding more ways to incorporate this healthy nut into your regular diet. Pistachios work great with salads, trail mix, and even fresh pesto!
Pistachio pesto recipe has multiple heart healthy and healing ingredients:
1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup cilantro
1 cup shelled pistachio nuts
2 -3 cloves garlic
1/4-2/3 cup olive oil or 1/4-2/3 cup pistachio oil
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and pulse until smooth.
Pistachio Pesto is a delicious dip, spread, or topping for raw veggies, baked potatoes, steamed asparagus, rice pasta or crackers
Growing Pistachio Trees
Climate is crucial when growing pistachio trees; ideal temperatures for pistachios are above 100 degrees F. during the day. Pistachios also need winter months cold enough to complete their dormant period, 45 degrees F. or below.
Pistachio nut trees do not do well at high elevations due to the cool temps or anywhere where it dips below 15 degrees F.
Pistachio trees do well in all soil types but really thrive in deep sandy loam.
Well-draining soil is a must and infrequent deep irrigation if possible. They are quite drought tolerant but do not do well in areas of high humidity.
Although pistachio trees are long living, with a large tap-root, and can grow to 20-30 feet, seedlings can be grown in containers for the first 3-5 years and then transplanted into the garden.
In the garden or orchard, trees should be planted 20 feet apart. Pistachio nut trees are dioecious; therefore, to get good crop set, both male and female trees are needed.
Pollination is through wind dispersal of pollen, which usually takes place in early to mid April. Stormy springs may affect crop set by interfering with pollination.
Harvest takes place anywhere from late August to early October. Between 5 and 7 years of age, the pistachio tree begins bearing fruit (yes, it’s a drupal).
A biennial bearer (a heavy crop one year and little crop the next), there appears to be no upper age limit to a tree’s viability. Once ripened, the nuts are quickly harvested, cleaned, sorted and roasted for the perfect snack or for ingredient usage.