Pistachio Nut
Pistachio Nut
Pistachio Nut
Pistachio Nut

Pistachio Nut

Regular price $4.50 Sale

Pistacia vera

Origin: Central Asia (via India)

Improvement status: Unknown

Seeds per packet: ~10


Life cycle: Perennial

Pistachios need little introduction, other than to say that if you live in a relatively dry part of the country, and in Zone 8 or above (and maybe even Zone 7), you can actually grow them!

A beloved member of the Anarcadiaceae family (along with mangos, cashews, sumac, and poison ivy), pistachios are native to central Asia, including Iran and Afghanistan. They have been enjoyed by humans for many thousands of years, and spread across Eurasia and North Africa during antiquity. Individual trees may live for over 300 years. Production is typically biennial, meaning trees will alternate heavy bearing years with limited bearing years. Trees are dioecious, so some plants produce nuts and some pollen. The splitting open of pistachios is a trait that humans have selected for, so some wild pistachios hardly or never split open. If you've ever walked in a pistachio orchard as the fruits (drupes) are ripening, you might notice the sound of them suddenly cracking open! The pistachio seeds we eat are not technically considered nuts, but the term is in such common use that we use it here too.

Pistachios are eaten in a wide range of ways around the world, including raw or roasted (and often salted) out of hand, in desserts like ice cream, halvah, and baklava, as well as savory dishes like mortadella, pilao rice, or baked fish. They're rich in protein, fat, carbohydrates, thiamine and vitamin B6, and are a moderate source of calcium, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Regular consumption has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease and triglyceride levels, while lowering blood pressure.

Our seed was imported from India by the good folks at Sheffield's Seed Company in Locke, NY.

GROWING TIPS: Pistachio seeds should be soaked in water for 24-48 hours at room temperature, then wrapped in slightly damp burlap, paper towel, or newspaper and refrigerated for six weeks. After this pre-treatment, seeds are ready to germinate but will only do so when the temperature is 70-90 degrees. Keeping them at room temperature works, but they should be planted a soon as roots appear in a good potting mix or sandy soil. Pistachio trees need cool winters of at least 45 degrees for a dormant period. They like long hot dry summers. California is of course the best place in the US to grow pistachios, but they are also grown commercially in Arizona and New Mexico. Texas, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Oregon can likely support pistachio cultivation, while it's a possibility — if a real challenge — in warmer parts of the US Southeast. Pistachios grown in large pots could probably be coaxed into fruiting beyond those regions, and the tree would make a lovely and unique bonsai as well. A variety from Uzbekistan is said to be cold hardy down to Zone 5!