January 21, 2013

Looking for a quick and filling snack? Pistachios are a great option, here is your reference 101 on pistachios

What are Pistachios?  
Pistachios are a small nut, botanically classified as a drupe: Pistacia vera L. Anacardiaceae, an edible portion of the seed, grown in clusters like grapes. 
How to Buy:
Look for clean-looking ivory-colored shells that should be slightly opened, which indicates maturity. Avoid closed shells which are difficult to open, as well as those with blemishes or cracks beyond the natural split. Ninety Eight percent of US crop is grown in California, 2nd largest world producer (Iran is the first). Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas also grow pistachios. Kernel should be yellow to pale green, darker green are the most sought after. Many cultivars; Kerman and Lassen are the most desirable. Sold in shell or shelled; can be eaten raw or choose roasted salted or unsalted ones.
How to Use:
Eat alone or add to baked goods or candy, ice cream, sausages, puddings, dressings, or garnish over dips or casseroles.
How to Store:
Avoid moisture, store in airtight container, in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain freshness: in-shell pistachios, up to 1 year from the date of production; shelled pistachios, up to 4 months. To thaw, place in a plastic bag to prevent condensation.
Health Benefits:
1oz. has 49 kernels, 170 calories, 6g protein, 3g of fiber (12% of RDA), and is very high in vitamin B6, thiamine, copper, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and antioxidants, (lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health); arginine, an amino acid, plus beta-carotene and gamma-tocopherol, for heart health; phytosterols to fight cholesterol. Contains 55 percent oil, nearly 90 percent-unsaturated fat. 

Smarter Shopping:
Nearly 95 percent of domestically grown pistachios are sold natural, without green or red dye, which generally covers up blemishes.
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