Nuts About Pistachios

by in Healthy Recipes, February 8, 2012
pistachios
Pistachios are wonderful on their own, but they make a great appetizer when drizzled with honey and served with apples and cheese.

No other nut boasts an emerald hue like the pistachio does. Find out what you’re getting when you crack open a pistachio.

Pistachio Basics
Commonly grown in Turkey and Iran, 98 perecent of the American crop of pistachios is grown in California. You can spot these distinctive nuts by their tan outer shell and the small green nut peaking out (the shell splits open when the nuts are ripe). Pistachios are available shelled or unshelled, salted or unsalted. Some research suggests that shelled nuts are a better choice for portion control– having to pop open the shell slows you down when munching.

Nutrition Facts
A one-ounce portion of pistachios (about 50 pieces) has 157 calories, 13 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. You’ll also be crunching on an ample amount of iron, thiamin and vitamin B6. Pistachios also rank highest among nuts in the antioxidant department.

What To Do With Pistachios
Crush up pistachios to make a coating for chicken or fish. Sprinkle chopped nuts to add crunch to salads and grain dishes or blend with herbs for a fresh take on pesto. The sweet and nutty flavor can also jazz up cookies, fruit salad, yogurt parfaits and frozen yogurt. To enhance the flavor, toast in a dry pan or 375-degree oven for 5 minutes before using. Or try the following simple recipe, courtesy of Pistachio Health.

Pistachios + Aged Gouda + Gala Apple Wedges Drizzled with Lavender Honey + Cold Ginger Beer (in photo above)

A delicate hint of salted, dry-roasted pistachios counterbalance the caramel-like sweetness of aged Gouda to blend naturally with the crisp juiciness of Gala apples. Lavender honey adds a fragrant, sweet earthiness that brings out the pistachios’ own earthy flavor. 

Thinly slice Gala apples and arrange on a platter; drizzle with lavender honey and serve alongside chunks of aged Gouda and bowls brimming with pistachios.

Shopping and Storage Tips
Store nuts in a sealed container or bag. Refrigerate for up to 3 months or for an extra long shelf life (up to 1 year), store in the freezer.

Recipes to Try:
Orange-Pistachio Wild Rice Salad
Figs with Ricotta and Honey
Couscous with Pistachios and Scallion
Honey Pistachio Biscotti
Orzo Salad with Fresh Apricots, Pistachios and Ginger Oil
Pistachio-Parsley Pesto
Toasted Israeli Couscous
Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

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