Pistachio nuts info Cooking Tips
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pistachio nuts info
Diwali the 4day festival of lights comes in November. The queen of indian festivals its very name a row of lamps means radiance and beauty. At this festival gifts and sweets are exchanged and families and friends get together to eat and be merry. Some of the finest sweets are made of pistachio nuts. On their own the nuts make the ultimate gift as they are the most expensive nut available in India. Platters of dry fruits which include pistachios almonds figs dates cashew nuts and sultanas make their way across the country during the days leading up to Diwali.
how they grow
Native to Iran Afghanistan and Turkey pistachios are imported as they have become an intrinsic part of indian cookery and entertaining. Various grades of pistachio nuts are available the best being large and fat. In India salted pistachios are roasted in their shells in hot sand and then tossed in a thick paste of salt and water to make the salt stick to the shells. During the process some shells open out and the salt gets to the nut within.
appearance and taste
Pistachio nuts are available in their shelled or unshelled form. The shells split neatly into two halvff exposing a fresh apple green nut streaked with violet. Pistachio nuts have virtually no aroma but they possess a rich smooth almost creamy taste that complements both sweet and savoury dishes.
buying and storing
Available whole chopped in their shell salted or roasted. Pistachio nuts are always expensive but worth the price. Get the largest greenest nuts. Store in an airtight container. They will keep for up to 8 months. Old pistachio nuts taste rancid. If the weather gets too hot it is a good idea to store dried fruits and nuts in the refrigerator
Predominantly used in sweets as a garnish or in stuffings they are powdered chopped finely or sliced to add colour and flavour to a dish. Try them with icecream or in stuffings for poultry. Sprinkle them over souffles and rice pudding. In India they are cooked with milk and sugar set and cut into squares. This sweet is called pista burg.
These are the fruit of a rather small tree Pistacia vera and they appear in clusters in the spring. The inner kernel of a pistachio has a beautiful green colour and a very delicate nutty taste. The love for pistachios is proverbial in the Arab countries where they are used as a filling for a number of honeydrenched desserts like baklava. They are a labour intensive and fragile crop and their price is correspondingly high. However even a small quantity used in a dish will add an exquisite note. They are used in both sweet and savoury dishes: they are sprinkled over pilaffs in middle Eastern countries and in Turkey; they are delicious sprinkled over icecream and fruit salads; and they are also used in Turkish delight or in mouth watering caramelized clusters. The stout fleshy Persian pistachio nuts are among the best.
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