Pistachios – The Royal Nut
The first authenticated historical mention of edible nuts refers to pistachios without any doubt. These archaeological findings date back to 6760 B.C. in the Palaeozoic period – in near settlements in the Neolith – in the territory of the present Jordan. Pistachios were soon considered food for the rich or “food of the chosen”.
Although pistachio trees have been harvested for a long period of time, the place of their origin is uncertain. Their most probable origin is the Middle East, Persia (Iran), or western Asia (eastern Pakistan and India), where they used to grow wild.
The history of pistachio nuts reflects their “royal character”, endurance and pride. Especially fine pistachios are said to have been a favourite delicacy of the Queen of Sheba, who confiscated all Assyrian deliveries for herself and for her royal court.
Pistachios were brought to Europe (in particular to Italy) from Syria during the reign of Tiberius at the beginning of the 1st century A.D. Subsequently they were spread to be grown in other Southern European countries (e.g. Greece).
Legend has it that lovers used to meet under pistachio trees and listened to the cracking of their nuts below moonlit nights, which was a sign that they would be happy.