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Pistachios came from the Middle East where the trees still grow wild. It?s the female trees which produce the grape-like, pinkish clusters which crack open to reveal the most amazing green nuts inside. Nevertheless, for every few female trees there has to be a male tree for them to produce nuts and reproduce.
Apart from almonds, pistachios are the only nut mentioned in the Old Testament, they were part of the design in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and were a favorite of the Queen of Sheeba and her parrots. When ripe the hulls pop open and tarps are placed beneath the trees to receive the nuts. The inner shells are soaked in water and then sun or air dried.
Like all nuts they are an excellent source of protein, and pistachios particularly are very high in potassium. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines use pistachios raw , toasted or fried in a number of dishes, mixed with rice, herbs and raisins. They are particularly good in patÚs and farces to add texture. In ice cream and puddings they are a classic favorite. A few added to a smoothie can add some extra flavor and protein, and just eating them by themselves, cracking them out of their shells, they can be very addictive.
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