FAQs

I have heard that pistachios have a rich history. What is it?

Pistachios have a long and significant history.  Recent research by Harvard University has established that pistachios were one of the “founding crops” in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East, which allowed mankind to advance from hunter-gatherers to an agrarian society.

Pistachios were also found in the Holy Lands of the Middle East, where they grew wild in high desert regions.  Legend has it that lovers met beneath the trees to hear the pistachios crack open on moonlit nights for the promise of good fortune!

How do pistachios grow?

Pistachios grow on trees in grape-like clusters. They are encased in an outer skin, or hull. When pistachios ripen, the hull turns rosy and the shell within splits naturally, indicating they are ready for harvest.

How should I store my pistachios?

We recommend that you store pistachios in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Kept in this way, pistachios will retain their distinctive crunch for up to 6 months. To restore pistachios that have lost their crispness, toast the shelled nuts at 200 degrees F. for 10 to 15 minutes and let them cool before eating.

How should I measure pistachios for a recipe?

In general, measure about 1/2 cup of inshell pistachios = 1/4 cup shelled nuts. For pistachio flour, you can replace 1/3 of the flour amount in most recipes with pistachio flour for added protein and fiber. For some great recipe ideas, Click Here!

Are pistachios good for you?

Absolutely! Pistachios are a great source of fiber, carbohydrates, protein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron and folate. They contain very little saturated fat and absolutely no trans fat. In fact, pistachios’s fat content is primarily monounsaturated fat, considered the “good” fat because it maintains “good” (HDL) cholesterol and possibly reduces “bad” (LDL) cholesterol. They’re Heart Healthy! See our Nutrition page for further information.

Why are pistachios sometimes red?

When pistachios were first imported to the United States from the Middle East, the nuts were dyed to cover stains on the shells from antiquated harvesting methods. Later, pistachios were dyed red to “stand out” in vending machines where they were commonly found for sale in this country. Today, some pistachios are still dyed red for marketing purposes. Not Santa Barbara Pistachios, of course!

Are Santa Barbara Pistachios bleached?

No. Santa Barbara Pistachios have never been bleached. Because of our superior growing area and processing techniques, our nuts are not stained. They’re just naturally beautiful!

Are your pistachios kosher?

Yes, Santa Barbara Pistachios have been reviewed by kosher authorities and are certified by the Kashruth Division of the Orthodox Union since 1998.

How do you flavor your pistachios?

Even during our unique flavoring process, we use no chemicals whatsoever. We soak our pistachios in brine solutions made of 100% wholesome ingredients that penetrate deep into the meat of the nut. Unlike other flavored pistachios, we do not use chemical spray-on flavorings, oil or egg whites in our process.

What is hot-air drying and why do you process your pistachios this way?

At Santa Barbara Pistachio Company, we choose to hot air-dry our pistachios in small 700-pound batches. Because we never allow the air temperature above 180 degrees F, our nuts retain their natural oils, where much of their unique flavor comes from. Unfortunately, roasted pistachios are often overcooked, spoiling the nut’s natural flavor and ruining their beautiful green color.

What are “naturally open” pistachios?

Some pistachio growers and processors use machines to artificially open pistachio shells. All Santa Barbara Pistachios are allowed to open naturally ensuring the best tasting nuts possible.

Why is it so important to the pistachios flavor that they be flavored, dried, packaged and shipped straight from the farm?

By controlling every phase of production from the orchard to your home, we can ensure that Santa Barbara Pistachios are pesticide-free, all natural and as fresh as can be. In most cases, our shipments have been hot air-dried, flavored and packaged less than two weeks before you receive them. You really can taste the freshness!

Are pistachios sorted by size?

Pistachios are sorted by number per ounce; Colossal = 18 or fewer per oz; Extra large = 20 or fewer per oz; Large = 21-25 per oz.; Medium = 26-30 per oz; Small = 31+ per oz. The terms jumbo, world’s largest, etc., are not technical terms and do not relate to any accepted standard of sorting. Santa Barbara Pistachios average 19.5 nuts per oz. for our 2005 crop.

What does the term “Certified U.S. Fancy” mean?

Like all produce, pistachios are sorted by grade. Santa Barbara Pistachios are Certified U.S. Fancy, the highest grade of pistachio grown. The grade is determined by assessing 5 criteria of the harvested nuts: suture splits, remaining hull material, staining, maturity of the kernel and insect damage.

How do you harvest your pistachios?

Santa Barbara Pistachios are machine harvested in early October, using the most modern equipment available. First, we determine when the pistachios are completely ripe and have opened naturally on the tree. Then, the nuts are shaken from the trees onto a catching frame, never touching the ground. (Each tree takes less than ten seconds to harvest). We then load our pistachios into containers and rush them to the processing plant, where they are hulled, dried and put into refrigerated storage. As orders are received, our Certified U.S. Fancy pistachios are brine soaked in 100% natural organic ingredients, hot air dried and packaged for shipment.

Do you use any pesticides or fungicides on Santa Barbara Pistachios?

No, our 100% natural organic pistachios are grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides or herbicides.