Pistachios thrive in dry weather conditions and usually fruits in hot summers of up to 38C. They are hardy and tough to be able to withstand cold winters down to below -10C. They are usually grown in USA, Iran, China and India. Due to the distinctive taste, it was once only enjoy by royalty!
One interesting fact to know about pistachios is that they are unisex trees. This means that each tree can only grow either male or female plants and not both. Thus, farmers will have to a graft a male branch on female tree or use insects or wind to pollinate the female tree. Those are the only ways they will fruit and the norm is to plant a male tree in between 10 to 15 female trees.
Similar to the almonds, the hulls which grow over the shells will split while it ripens. The hulls will also turn from green to brown. Popping sounds from the splitting are heard in September or October and mechanical equipment is used to shake the fruits from the trees. Hearing the popping sounds is considered good luck in Israel and Russia and also good for relationships too.
The hulls are to be inspected to check for mold and the molds are fatal is left unchecked. However, they are not as dangerous as cashew shells. The hulls are removed within 24 hours to prevent further darkening of the shells. They are then sorted out by the splits of the shells. Those split nicely are sold as such, while those with a small or no splits are mechanically shells and sold without its shells. After which, soaking in salt water before drying them is necessary to enhance their flavour and texture.
We have done a taste test and confirmed that those with their shells tasted much nicer and fragrant than those without. The shells protects the loss of flavours although it is more inconvenient to eat them.
I find joy in cracking pistachio shells but rest assured, our USA pistachios' shells are easier to crack and they look whiter and more pristine than store bought brands. Try them today, we guarantee you will never buy from elsewhere ever again!