The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia (Iran), which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily and possibly Afghanistan (especially in the provinces of Samangan and Badghis), as well as in the United States, specifically California. The tree produces an important culinary nut.
Pistacia vera often is confused with other species in the genus Pistacia that are also known as pistachio. These species can be distinguished from P. vera by their geographic distributions (in the wild) and their nuts. Their nuts are much smaller, have a strong flavor of turpentine, and have a shell that is not hard.
Today, pistachios remain one of the most popular nuts for people of all ages. Pistachios or Green almonds as they are sometimes called are popular because of their small size, green colour and easy to open shells. Pistachios are grown on trees and have naturally tan shells. The kernels inside the shells are a greenish tan. They get their greenish coloring from chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a natural pigment that gives leaves their green color.
Pistachios are typically sold with the shells partly open and the kernels peeking out, making the task of separating the kernels from their shells easy. The shell actually opens on its own during the growth process. As the pistachio nut grows, it expands until it pops its shell open. Pistachios are an excellent and rich tasting nut. They are available in Large, Medium and small sizes. Hence, one can purchase as per one's need or occasion.
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