A Crunchy Pistachios Tale: 13 Interesting Facts About These Salty Munchies

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Eating crunchy while enjoying a good movie or your favourite video game is a blessing. It is even more enjoyable when you munch on something healthy yet delicious; pistachios. People usually perceive them as nuts, accompanied by other flavourful nuts like cashews, walnuts, and almonds. Interestingly, the pistachio is a fruit.

It is one of the exciting facts about pistachios, but it is not the only one. There is more to learn about this tree fruit with a tiny purple-hued seed with a shell covering it. The right way to consume these nut-like munches is by cracking the outer shell and enjoying the crunchy drupe. Let’s learn a lot of exciting information about the palatable pistachio.

1. They Are Not Nuts

This fact may surprise many, but pistachios are not a type of nut as many believe. A pistachio is a drupe, a kind of fruit with an edible seed that grows inside a shell and has a thin skin. Surprisingly, pistachios are fruits related to the same family tree of mangoes and poison ivy, which is a fact that many don’t seem to be aware of.

2. Pistachios Are Colourful

The green colour is often related to the pistachio. We even get to see this colour in pistachio-flavoured desserts and beverages. Most of the time, pistachios have that green colour from chlorophyll pigment. It’s the same pigment in vegetables and green fruits, including green apples and lettuce. However, there are many times when shades of purple adorn green. The shell always has this light beige colour.

3. People Call it The Smiling Nut

It’s not true that pistachios have this flavourful taste that can draw a smile to our faces. Yet, this is not the real reason people call them the smiling nut, although it applies. The shell of a pistachio always has this open at one end. This opening happens as the inside pistachio ripens and becomes more significant than the outer shell; thus, it cracks it open, forming the shape of a smile. 

4. Originated in Iran

Pistachio is a popular snack worldwide, yet the Arab world consumes this exceptional nut-like fruit the most. The origins of pistachios go back to Iran, the first country to use this salty snack and export it to the world. For your information, Iran isn’t an Arab country; it’s Persian. However, its location in the Middle East, similar-to -Arabic language, and Muslim majority make people confuse Iranians for Arabs. It’s also a Middle Eastern country, so pistachios are a typical snack among Arabs who lie in the same region as Iran.

5. Queen of Sheba’s Favourite Snack

Queen of Sheba was so fond of pistachios. She snacked on them daily, and she even turned into a greedy person. Her deep love for these little munching pistachios had made her declare that ordinary people couldn’t grow pistachio trees. Thus, pistachios became limited to the royal people only, and commoners were not to enjoy them. Queen of Sheba even took it too far, saving her country’s entire harvest for herself, depriving other people of it.

6. Highly Nutritious Snacks

The thing about enjoying pistachios is that you can never stop at one or two. You keep munching on these salty snacks until your lips burn. Well, the good news is that pistachios are nutritious. They are rich in unsaturated fats, fibre, and other minerals that do well for your body. Some great benefits you can reap from them are regulating blood pressure and sugar levels. 

7. Contain Low Calories

Pistachio is great for weight loss. Not only because they’re nutritious and can feed the body, but they also contain low calories. One gram of pistachios equals around four calories, which means you can enjoy a handful of pistachios without worrying about putting on weight. Moreover, all food consumed excessively can lead to weight gain; even if it’s lettuce and pistachio is no exception. However, pistachio is rich in fibre, which makes you feel complete faster and for longer, so you won’t overeat.

8. Enhance Healthy Bacteria in the Gut

Being rich in fibre, pistachios can be responsible for improving digestion. It’s also gentle on your stomach and can induce the growth of good bacteria in your gut. That’s because it contains a lot of prebiotics, which are microorganisms living in the intestines and responsible for growing good bacteria. Thus, pistachios can be a great solution to treat constipation, diarrhoea, and other stomach disorders.

9. Pistachio’s Shell Crack is A Sign of Luck

The cracking sound of opening the shell of a pistachio was considered a sign of good luck. Russia is one of those countries that perceive this little delicacy to be a symbol of fortune. When someone cracks open pistachios, and they don’t make a noise, they start to worry. Moreover, in some parts of the Middle East, cracking sounds were a sign of a healthy relationship. Couples would meet under a pistachio tree, getting reassurance from the little nuts that they’ll get married.

10. Used in Desserts

Pistachios are salty, which makes them more of a savoury indulgence than a sweet one. However, many countries add pistachios to their desserts, especially oriental desserts. This tasty addition started appearing in the Middle East, especially during Ramadan. It’s the time of the year when people consume oriental desserts excessively, enjoying baklava and kunafa with loads of pistachio flavour. Pistachio-covered baklavas are also deemed a Turkish delicacy.

11. Can Be Deadly Sometimes

Despite all the nutritional value of pistachio, it can be dangerous sometimes, and that’s when they aren’t adequately harvested. Poorly harvested pistachios lead to the accumulation of aflatoxin, a lethal chemical substance that can stimulate the growth of cancerous cells inside the body. This incident once occurred when lots of faulty pistachios got into the market, and it was discovered when diseases started to spread across different regions in the world.

12. Americans Preferred Red Pistachios

Back in the 80s, traditional methods of harvesting made the appearance of pistachio quite unappealing for Americans. This has the nuts sales take a hit, for Americans avoided purchasing pistachio altogether. Therefore, many vendors used red dye to make the little nut more appetising, and the sales skyrocketed during that time.

13. Indians Call it the Hot Nut

Every culture has its own beliefs and superstitions when it comes to pistachios. Some perceive it as a lucky food, others prefer it red, while some believe it reassures the success of relationships. In India, pistachios are the food that warms up the soul. It’s a common belief among Indians that eating pistachios can make your soul feel warm, which is essential in the cold season. Thus, they call it the hot nut and consume it excessively when the temperatures drop. 

Those little green snacks seem like more than just munchies while watching your favourite show. Pistachios have history and different tales worldwide, making them even more enjoyable.

Besides all the fun facts to learn about pistachios, we recommend you have a handful of salty snacks every once in a while for their magnificent health benefits.

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