Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pistachio in America

Pistachio nuts are used in the food industry as flavoring and coloring for cakes, ice cream, snack foods and certain confections. The pistachio is native to central Asia, where it has been cultivated for over nine thousands years.

The ancient Greeks consumed pistachios and the nuts were introduced to Italy in the first century CE.

The first pistachio seeds were planted in California and several southern states in 1854, but the trees did not thrive.  During the 1880’s imported pistachios were popular among American immigrants from the Middle East and were found in ethnic food shops, especially in New York City.

Pistachio nuts recipes were published in American cookbooks after the beginning of the twentieth century.

In 1929 William E. Whitehouse, an American plant scientist, wandered around Persian plantations, dusty village markets and bazaars for six months, collecting distinctive pistachio nut seeds.

He came back with twenty pounds of carefully selected seeds and germinated them in 1930 at Chico Plant Introduction Station in California’s San Joaquin Valley where they thrived.

It wasn’t until 1950 that a really stayed out tree could be selected, one with noticeably, larger and plumper nuts. It was named ‘Kerman’ after the famous carpet-making city near the nut has been collected.

The nuts became popular during the 1930s, when they were largely sold to immigrant groups and distributed through vending machines.

In 1976 the first major crops of pistachio nuts was harvested in California, which in the early 2000s, was the world’s second largest producer.
Pistachio in America

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