More About National Pistachio Day

Hard to believe, but it wasn’t until 1976 that Americans harvested the first commercial crop of pistachios. They had been enjoying the nut since about the 1800s, but it was not until the 1930s that the love for pistachios really took off. What may have made the little tree nut so admired, though, is the invention of pistachio ice cream in the 1940s by James W. Parkinson of Philadelphia. Today, California produces 300 million pounds of pistachios, which is about 98 percent of the domestic crop. Other world producers include Turkey, Syria, Italy and Greece. Remember getting that red dye all over your fingers back in the day when pistachios were dyed crimson? Hard to imagine now but the apparent reason for the colouring was to hide flaws on the shell and to make them stand out in vending machines! Related botanically to cashews and mangoes, pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees, and are one of the only two nuts mentioned in the Bible. Native to western Asia and Asia Minor, the trees grew wild in high desert regions and legend has it that for the promise of good fortune lovers met beneath the trees to hear the pistachios crack open on moonlit nights. Thanks to their high nutritional value and long storage life, pistachios were an indispensable form of sustenance among early explorers and traders, including travellers across the ancient Silk Road that connected China with the West.

Date & Time

February 26, 2023

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