Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Origin of pistachio nuts

Pistachio is the only commercially edible nut among the 11 species in the genus Pistachia. Pistachia vera L is by far the most economically important and a member of the Anacardiaceae or cashew family.

The first archaeological findings date back to 6760 BC in the Paleozoic period - in near settlements in the Neolith – in the territory of the present Jordan. Pistachios grew wild in the high desert regions during Biblical times.

Pistachios were soon considered food for the rich and the chosen. The word pistachio appears to derive from the Zendor Avestan (ancient Persian language) pista-psitak and is cognate to the modern Persian word Peste.

They probably come from the Middle East, Persia and western Asia, where they used to grow wildly in high positioned desert regions. The history of pistachio nuts reflects their ‘royal character’ endurance and pride.

Fine pistachio are said to have been a favorite delicacy of the Queen of Sheba who confiscated all Syrian deliveries for herself and for her royal court.

Pistachio trees were planted in the gardens of King Merodach-Baladan of Babylon around the 8th century. In the 2nd century, Nicander found pistachio in Susa, a village in south-western Iran close to the border with Iraq.

The tree was introduced into Europe at the beginning of the Christian era. In the 1st century, Poseidonius recorded cultivated pistachios in Syria and they probably introduced from Anatolia and thence into Italy towards the year 800, subsequently into Spain.

Pistachio has been spread eastward from its center and was reported in China the 10th century AD.

Pistachio was introduced into the USA in 1853-1854. This royal nut was imported by American traders in the 1880s, primarily for US citizens of Middle Eastern origin.
Origin of pistachio nuts