The pistachio is the seed fruit of Pistacia vera, originating in Persia. The English name pistachio is derived from pisteh, its Persian name. Also known as the green almond, the pistachio is related to thecashew.
The 20-foot tall trees thrive in stony, poor soil under high heat and with little or no rainfall, but cannot tolerate humidity or excessive moisture conditions. These trees live for centuries with no care necessary. In fact, Iran boasts of a 700-year-old tree still living.
Pistachios were brought to the United States in the late 1890′s by a former Syrian immigrant who was a nut salesman.
Pistachios are currently cultivated as a commercial crop in California, Italy, Turkey, and Iran, with the U.S. being the second largest producer in the world.
One of the most popular uses of pistachios is pistachio ice cream, a creation credited to James W. Parkinson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania around 1940. However, you will see from the recipe collection that the pistachio is tasty in savory dishes as well as sweets.