National Pistachio Day
Although pistachio trees were cultivated for thousands of years in the Middle East, it wasn’t until the 1880s that pistachios became popular in the U.S. They were first introduced to the country by Middle Eastern immigrants and have since continued to grow in popularity over the following 141+ years. That’s probably why they now have their own holiday: National Pistachio Day. This holiday falls annually on February 26th and it’s a good excuse for everyone to crack open and enjoy these tasty nuts.
The History Of Pistachios
Although our search for the history of National Pistachio Day proved to be fruitless, we were able to unearth some great history on pistachio trees and nuts. Did you know that pistachios are one of the oldest flowering nut trees? Well, if you didn’t, then buckle up because we’re going on a wild ride into the history of these nuts.
The pistachio is one of the first nuts to be enjoyed by prehistoric man. These nuts are known to have been consumed at least as far back as 9,000 years, but humans probably actually consumed them long before that. They have even been mentioned in the Old Testament.
During the Arab expansion and the spread of Islam during the 7th century, more and more areas began to be cultivated for pistachio production. From there, the Crusades of the Middle Ages and the Levant Trade of the 16th century spread pistachios far and wide—even going as far as the foot of the Alps.
North of the Alps, however, was a different story. In Central Europe, the pistachio was unknown for quite a long time. When it eventually made it into the region via Italian trade routes over trade passes of the Alps, the locals would often call it the Latin Penny Nut.
In the United States, Middle Eastern immigrants brought pistachios into the country and distributed them widely. Eventually, these nuts would make their way into vending machines where they were dispensed for a nickel a bag.
Facts About Pistachios
Do you want to know some really cool pistachio related facts? If you do, then read the following list of facts that we’ve uncovered during our research for this nut-themed holiday.
- Pistachios are known as Happy Nuts in China.
- These are some of the lowest-calorie nuts available.
- Pistachios pop their own shells when they ripen.
- California is the leading producer of pistachios in the U.S—producing more than 550 million pounds.
- Outside of the U.S., Iran is the largest producer of pistachios.
- Pistachios are in the same family as spice sumac and mangoes.
- Another name for pistachios is Green Almonds.
- They are a heart-healthy snack.
- A recipe using pistachios can be found in a first-century Roman cookbook.
Observing National Pistachio Day
This holiday is an easy one to celebrate. All that has to be done is to enjoy some tasty pistachios or incorporate pistachios into your baking for the day. The hashtag #NationalPistachioDay can also be used to pronounce your participation in this holiday.