10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Pistachios

In honor of National Pistachio Day, let's celebrate the versatility of this amazing nut with ten bizarre, yet surprising facts you may not have known about the pistachio.

Pistachios are nature’s super nut. What other food can bring happiness, warm your soul, fuel a town and get a mention in the Bible? The pistachio can do it all. In honor of National Pistachio Day, let’s celebrate the versatility of this amazing nut with ten bizarre, yet surprising facts you may not have known about the pistachio.

1. Pistachios Were Once Considered Exclusively The Food Of Royalty


Legend has it that the Queen of Sheba declared pistachios were only to be enjoyed by royalty, even decreeing that it was illegal for commoners to grow pistachio trees, which we can all agree is just rude. They say the Queen even took her country’s entire harvest of pistachios for her and her royal court.

2. Mangos Are Distant Cousins Of Pistachios


Personally, I don’t see the resemblance, but it’s true. Both mangos and pistachios come from the evergreen tree family. Their other weird relative? Poison Ivy. Those family parties must be pretty weird.

3. People Used To Eat The Tree Pitch Of Pistachio Trees


During the 17th century, pistachio trees were known in the Ukraine as “pitch trees” because they believed eating the tree’s pitch (which is kind of like a sap) would freshen your breath. Who needs mouthwash when you have pistachio trees, am I right?

4. Hearing The Crack Of A Pistachio Shell Is Considered Good Luck


In many countries, such as Israel and Russia, hearing the cracking of the pistachio nut was viewed as a very good omen. And in the Middle East specifically, they regarded the sound as an omen for a happy relationship. So naturally couples would meet under pistachio trees, waiting around for those nuts to assure them that their relationship was going to be a successful one. No judgment here.

5. People From India Believe Pistachios Are Capable Of Warming The Soul – Literally


Looking to cut down on your heating bill this winter? Pistachios could be your answer. In India, during the coldest winter months, people will binge on pistachios, which they call the “hot nut”. They believe that pistachios quite literally have the ability to warm a person from the inside out.

6. Pistachios Are One Of The Oldest Flowering Trees In The World.


It’s thought that pistachios have been snacked upon for about 9,000 years, making the pistachio tree one of the world’s oldest surviving tree species. That being said, it should come as no surprise that…

7. Pistachios Are One Of Only Two Nuts Mentioned In The Bible


That’s right, they’re biblical. Pistachios are thought to have been one of the foods that Adam brought with him to Earth (Genesis 43:11) and, therefore, grew in the Garden of Eden. The only other nut to get a cameo in this bestseller? The almond.

8. Harvested Poorly, Pistachios Can Be Deadly.


On a darker note, pistachios that are not processed or harvested properly are not suitable for human consumption.

Aflatoxin, a chemical which can cause cancerous mold, has been found in some mistreated pistachios and has led to breakouts of disease in some parts of the world. Sometimes, if not caught soon enough, these pistachios can be fatal.

9. Red Pistachios Are A Total Sales Ploy


If you don’t remember red pistachios, here’s a quick history lesson –until the 1980s, pistachios were typically a bright red – something U.S. vendors did to make them more appealing.

Traditional harvesting methods overseas made pistachio shells look blotchy – which was unappetizing for the American consumer. So pistachios were dyed red to hide their appearance until about 30 years ago.

10. In 2014, Turkey Started Plans To Fuel A Town Entirely On Pistachio Shells.


What do you do with all those leftover pistachio shells? Turkey has the right idea. In 2014, the country revealed plans to start the first ever eco-city, which would run entirely off pistachio shells.

The shells would get cooked in a digester, and the gases produced as a result (mostly methane gas) would theoretically fuel the town. The plans are still underway to see if this plan is plausible and we’re crossing our fingers for this pistachio-fueled town.