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 Why red pistachios

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alesrus

  • Total Posts: 292
  • Joined: 8/19/2003
  • Location: Franklin, NJ
Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 10:22 AM (permalink)
As a kid the only kind of pistachios you could get were the red variety. Now you are hard pressed to find the red ones. Why?
 
#1
    Rusty246

    • Total Posts: 2413
    • Joined: 7/15/2003
    • Location: Newberry, FL
    RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 10:29 AM (permalink)
    No offense, but why whould you want the red one's, if that's an inquiry. Why did the red one's ever exsist in the first place? I myself am thankful for the "natural" ones. My kid's love them, and I don't miss the mess. Interesting thought though.
     
    #2
      alesrus

      • Total Posts: 292
      • Joined: 8/19/2003
      • Location: Franklin, NJ
      RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 10:39 AM (permalink)
      No offense taken, that's what I am asking "Why red pistachios?"
       
      #3
        BassMan12

        • Total Posts: 17
        • Joined: 4/11/2001
        • Location: Covington/Atlanta, GA
        RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 10:44 AM (permalink)
        The first pistachios available to consumers were imported from the Middle East. American importers dyed the shells red, both to disguise staining from antiquated harvesting methods and to make pistachios stand out among other nuts in vending machines.

        Until the 1970s, there was no domestic pistachio industry in the United States. California harvested its first commercial crop in 1976. The entry of California pistachios into the marketplace made available nuts with clean, naturally tan shells. California's Kerman variety is also larger in size with a more vibrant green nut color. A small percentage of California's crop is dyed red, not by necessity, but to meet the needs of those consumers who prefer the colorful shell.
         
        #4
          Lone Star

          • Total Posts: 1730
          • Joined: 5/22/2003
          • Location: Houston, TX
          RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 11:07 AM (permalink)
          In the years we spent in Kuwait, we enjoyed green dyed, and red dyed pistachios. They were dyed over there too, as that is the way you bought them at the souk.

          They were always plentiful and so good. I don't think the California ones taste the same.
           
          #5
            Sundancer7

            RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 11:09 AM (permalink)
            I wonder if that is why pistachio ice cream is green?
            Maybe it is to match the vibrant California green nut?

            Paul E. Smith
            Knoxville, TN
             
            #6
              scbuzz

              • Total Posts: 844
              • Joined: 3/7/2003
              • Location: Sumter, SC
              RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 11:12 AM (permalink)
              That's why I love this site !! I love pistachios and have eaten them most of my life and could never figure out why some of them were red ????

              Well, now I know !!!


              However, I prefer the natural ones, as they are less messy on the fingers !!!
               
              #7
                Lone Star

                • Total Posts: 1730
                • Joined: 5/22/2003
                • Location: Houston, TX
                RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 11:12 AM (permalink)
                Iran has the best pistachios. The trees are Native to the country and they are so much better than anything grown domestically here.
                 
                #8
                  GordonW

                  • Total Posts: 924
                  • Joined: 11/13/2003
                  • Location: Chapel Hill, NC
                  RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 11:37 AM (permalink)
                  According to what I have read, the red color orginally was added to cover blemishes on the shells and make them more attractive. Also, to increase eye appeal, especially in those vending machines, along with the gum balls. At least, that's what I've read about red.
                   
                  #9
                    mayor al

                    • Total Posts: 15057
                    • Joined: 8/20/2002
                    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
                    • Roadfood Insider
                    RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 11:51 AM (permalink)
                    I can take or leave the nuts themselves, but I encourage any of you SoCal Road Fooder's who do the Vegas run now and then to take a little time next time you drive up I-15 to see the nut groves in the old Mojave river basin near the Fort/Camp Cady Historic site in the Newberry Springs area.
                    For you Non-Socal folks, if you visit the area, About 1/2 way between L A and Vegas The interstate runs near the dry river bed of the Mojave River and the Pistashio's and Apricot groves there sell a lot of fruit -in season-
                    In August the Mojave River Yacht Club holds it's annual regatta near Hesperia. That is an event not to be missed. The river surface is dry as a bone. Teams of competitors carry canoes on their shoulders and complete a mile long race in the loose sand of the dry river bed. The temperature of the sand can reach over 150 degrees on a good day, so the pace is lively for more than just one reason. Plenty of cold beverages in sight, and more than a few pink and green NUTS are involved.
                     
                    #10
                      alesrus

                      • Total Posts: 292
                      • Joined: 8/19/2003
                      • Location: Franklin, NJ
                      RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 1:39 PM (permalink)
                      Thank you Bassman! or should I say "Our official nut historian"
                       
                      #11
                        ocdreamr

                        • Total Posts: 1109
                        • Joined: 3/12/2003
                        • Location: Wilmington, NC
                        RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 5:19 PM (permalink)
                        I don't miss the red dye but they seem to be less salty than I remember & that I miss. I know less salt is better for you, but sometime you just want the salt.
                         
                        #12
                          markolenski

                          • Total Posts: 307
                          • Joined: 3/7/2003
                          • Location: Chula Vista, CA
                          RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 6:10 PM (permalink)
                          What about the white ones they were the saltiest. The best tasting are still from Iran or Turkey.
                          http://www.zenobianut.com/aboutturk.asp
                           
                          #13
                            jerseygirl127

                            • Total Posts: 454
                            • Joined: 11/13/2003
                            • Location: Granger, IN
                            RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 7:16 PM (permalink)
                            i'm thinking the pistachio ice cream is green because the nuts them self have a green tint to them.. don't think it has anything to do with the shell.. and i have to wonder why anyone would want to eat the red ones? the taste is the same and you don't look like youv'e just killed someone when you are done eating the natural ones.... ( at least i think the taste is the same-- my sister would disagree-- she SWEARS that the red ones are better.. who knows... to each his own i guess...)
                             
                            #14
                              Sundancer7

                              RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 7:22 PM (permalink)
                              Pistachio ice cream is not easy to find. I had some great pistachio in PEI last year. It is not often available here in Knoxville. A real unusal taste.

                              Paul E. Smith
                              Knoxville, TN
                               
                              #15
                                Sundancer7

                                RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 7:28 PM (permalink)
                                quote:
                                Originally posted by Al-The Mayor-Bowen

                                I can take or leave the nuts themselves, but I encourage any of you SoCal Road Fooder's who do the Vegas run now and then to take a little time next time you drive up I-15 to see the nut groves in the old Mojave river basin near the Fort/Camp Cady Historic site in the Newberry Springs area.
                                For you Non-Socal folks, if you visit the area, About 1/2 way between L A and Vegas The interstate runs near the dry river bed of the Mojave River and the Pistashio's and Apricot groves there sell a lot of fruit -in season-
                                In August the Mojave River Yacht Club holds it's annual regatta near Hesperia. That is an event not to be missed. The river surface ry as a bone. Teams of competitors carry canoes on their shoulders and complete a mile long race in the loose sand of the dry river bed. The temperature of the sand can reach over 150 degrees on a good day, so the pace is lively for more than just one reason. Plenty of cold beverages in sight, and more than a few pink and green NUTS are involved.



                                Al is right. I was east of Palm Springs and doing a end run of the Jushua Tree National Park and passed the pistachio nut groves. I stopped and bought a two pound bag in November. I think I paid about $7.00. They may not be as good as the ones in Turkey or Iran but they were good enough for me. I had them with my evening libation and they were great. They were not colored, easy to open, salted and very tasty.

                                I continued my drive to Edwards Air Force Base where I observed planes landing on the natural surface of the desert. It looked like glass to me. It is a amazing place.

                                Paul E. Smith
                                Knoxville, TN
                                 
                                #16
                                  Stephen Rushmore Jr.

                                  RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 7:41 PM (permalink)
                                  quote:
                                  Originally posted by Sundancer7

                                  Pistachio ice cream is not easy to find. I had some great pistachio in PEI last year. It is not often available here in Knoxville. A real unusal taste.

                                  Paul E. Smith
                                  Knoxville, TN
                                  LOL. I just had some 5 minutes ago (before even reading this thread) at Christina's in Inman Square, Cambridge, MA (yes, it's 5 degrees outside). Best ice cream anywhere and full of unusual flavors.
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Grampy

                                    • Total Posts: 1559
                                    • Joined: 10/14/2002
                                    • Location: Greenfield, MA
                                    RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/14/04 7:51 PM (permalink)
                                    When I was growing up a million years ago, all the Chinese restaurants, admitedly very bad, served either Jell-O, pineapple, or pistachio ice cream as a dessert. Is this still seen anywhere? And why pistachio?
                                     
                                    #18
                                      signman

                                      • Total Posts: 1743
                                      • Joined: 10/23/2000
                                      • Location: Baltimore, MD
                                      RE: Why red pistachios Thu, 01/15/04 12:54 AM (permalink)
                                      First got hooked on pistachio ice cream at HOJO's. I guess it was one of the famous 28 flavors.

                                      Nowadays, just about the only ice cream I buy for home consumption is Ben & Jerry's Pistachio Pistachio. Just the slightest tint of green to the actual ice cream, but filled with lots of whole pistachio nutmeats.
                                       
                                      #19
                                        amelia

                                        • Total Posts: 17
                                        • Joined: 1/21/2004
                                        • Location: Carrollton, TX
                                        RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/21/04 10:17 PM (permalink)
                                        OO do you mean the red ones that were on the shells and were really salty and good tasting too on the shell? Wow, if those are the ones you're talking about, I get those all the time...at like Middle Eastern Stores. DOes anybody else suck on the shells for the salt? hehe i do..
                                         
                                        #20
                                          amelia

                                          • Total Posts: 17
                                          • Joined: 1/21/2004
                                          • Location: Carrollton, TX
                                          RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 01/21/04 10:18 PM (permalink)
                                          "Iran has the best pistachios. The trees are Native to the country and they are so much better than anything grown domestically here."

                                          YEAH! GO IRAN! i'm Iranian! haha well i was born in Texas but my paretns were born there..
                                           
                                          #21
                                            DougH Nut

                                            • Total Posts: 15
                                            • Joined: 9/7/2007
                                            • Location: Portland, OR
                                            RE: Why red pistachios Sun, 09/9/07 2:28 PM (permalink)
                                            If my taste memory serves me correctly (and I know the calibration could be somewhat questionable), the red pistachios that I remember from way back when had a more intense flavor (and thus are better than others). I could care less that they have red dye, however it adds a note of novelty. That the purpose was to hide blemishes doesn't matter to me.

                                            Are you sure that Chinese restaurants had pistachio ice cream? I thought the green ice cream was made from Green Tea?

                                            Does everyone know the trick of opening pistachios? Take a half shell from one you've already opened and place the edge in the slot of an unopened nut. Then twist. As long as the unopened nut has any kind of slot in it, it will be capable of being opened.
                                             
                                            #22
                                              MilwFoodlovers

                                              • Total Posts: 3090
                                              • Joined: 3/31/2001
                                              • Location: Milwaukee, WI
                                              RE: Why red pistachios Sun, 09/9/07 5:50 PM (permalink)
                                              When some of the Roadfooders were up to Milwaukee for The Hideaway visit, we thought the night should end at Kopp's Frozen Custard. One of the daily special flavors was spumoni which had a green layer chock full of pistachio's; I mean a ton of pistachio's too. It was just outstanding.
                                               
                                              #23
                                                NYNM

                                                • Total Posts: 3037
                                                • Joined: 6/16/2005
                                                • Location: New York, NY/Santa Fe, NM
                                                RE: Why red pistachios Sun, 09/9/07 7:00 PM (permalink)
                                                Oh yeah and in New Mexico you can get plain, red (red chile dusted) or green (green chile dusted) pistachios.

                                                Southern New Mexico is one of the top producers of pistachios and NM'ers ain't goin nowhere without their chile fix!
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  mollydingle

                                                  • Total Posts: 221
                                                  • Joined: 10/14/2005
                                                  • Location: Lawrence, MA
                                                  RE: Why red pistachios Wed, 09/12/07 3:12 PM (permalink)
                                                  I love pistachios, always have and always will. The Iranian are the best, IMHO.
                                                  I've heard the reason why the nuts are red is this: the nuts have no natural opening, so they are soaked in brine and dried in the sun. This caused the nut to crack slightly for opening and also to tint the shells a reddish color due to some chemical reaction. Later, when growers developed more technology, the nuts were dyed because that's what people were used to.
                                                  I don't know if that's true, but it's a good story, told to me by an old Lebanese neighbor.
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    janifer

                                                    • Total Posts: 71
                                                    • Joined: 8/4/2002
                                                    • Location: Tallahassee, FL
                                                    RE: Why red pistachios Fri, 09/21/07 8:24 AM (permalink)
                                                    I, too, remember that the white-dyed pistachios were the saltiest and that the imported nuts had more flavor than the varieties grown in the US. The flavor reduction is probably a result of hybridization to enlarge the kernel size and I'll bet the US crops are a bit more pampered than those in the Middle East - a little adversity builds character.

                                                    I loved the bright green hue of Baskin Robbins pistachio ice cream when I was a kid and still enjoy a pint of Ben & Jerry's on occasion even though I now recognize that the flavor of the ice cream is actually almond (think Maraschino cherry flavoring) and that's really why I eat it.
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      PaulBPool

                                                      • Total Posts: 278
                                                      • Joined: 2/20/2002
                                                      • Location: East Meadow, NY
                                                      RE: Why red pistachios Fri, 09/21/07 9:06 AM (permalink)
                                                      I agree with many of the posters here, the imported pistachios are definitely tastier than the domestic ones. Trader Joe's always has a good selection of white, red, and 'flavored' pistachios, including a nice chile-limon. Personally, to me, the red ones always tasted better than the non-red ones. I know, I know, there is no difference, the red is just a coloring, it's all in my head (no comments please), but I can't eat the plain ones without thinking they aren't 'right'.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        hipster006

                                                        • Total Posts: 39
                                                        • Joined: 8/20/2001
                                                        • Location: pottsville, PA
                                                        RE: Why red pistachios Fri, 09/21/07 9:57 AM (permalink)
                                                        the white"dye" on the nuts was a heavy salt-based concoction! for a treat try rita's italian water ice flavor-pistachio cream. really good!
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          vhilts

                                                          • Total Posts: 2
                                                          • Joined: 8/9/2006
                                                          • Location: Hana, HI
                                                          RE: Why red pistachios Sat, 09/29/07 12:09 PM (permalink)
                                                          quote:
                                                          Originally posted by mollydingle

                                                          I love pistachios, always have and always will. The Iranian are the best, IMHO.
                                                          I've heard the reason why the nuts are red is this: the nuts have no natural opening, so they are soaked in brine and dried in the sun. This caused the nut to crack slightly for opening and also to tint the shells a reddish color due to some chemical reaction. Later, when growers developed more technology, the nuts were dyed because that's what people were used to.
                                                          I don't know if that's true, but it's a good story, told to me by an old Lebanese neighbor.
                                                          does anyone know where to purchase Iranian pistachios? I'd like to try them.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            Tedbear

                                                            • Total Posts: 1832
                                                            • Joined: 1/26/2004
                                                            • Location: Somerset, NJ
                                                            RE: Why red pistachios Sat, 09/29/07 12:33 PM (permalink)
                                                            quote:
                                                            Originally posted by jerseygirl127

                                                            i'm thinking the pistachio ice cream is green because the nuts them self have a green tint to them.. don't think it has anything to do with the shell.. and i have to wonder why anyone would want to eat the red ones? the taste is the same and you don't look like youv'e just killed someone when you are done eating the natural ones.... ( at least i think the taste is the same-- my sister would disagree-- she SWEARS that the red ones are better.. who knows... to each his own i guess...)


                                                            Hmmm....Is your sister the same woman who I occasionally see at the Deli counter, who orders 1/2 lb. of white American Cheese and 1/2 lb. of yellow American Cheese? Out of curiosity, I once asked her why she ordered some of each, and after looking at me with a tortured facial expression, she exclaimed, "Because they taste different!".

                                                            I guess that delusions like this are more wide-spead than I had originally thought!
                                                             
                                                            #30
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