Tuesday, February 26, 2013

National Pistachio Day

Today is National Pistachio Day! The pistachio plant is a small bushy tree that's found in places like Greece, Turkey and Afghanistan. It produces bunches of fruit that are similar to grapes and the pistachio nut is actually the seed of that fruit.

Stuffed Squash with Brazil Nuts and Pistachios. Photo by Lori Maffei.
Pistachios are loaded with antioxidants and are also an excellent source of fiber, copper, manganese, beta carotene, and Vitamin B6.  Studies have shown that pistachios can help manage weight, reduce high blood pressure and even protect against type 2 diabetes. And of course, they're high in protein, with 6 grams per 160 calorie serving.

Pistachio Butter Biscotti. Photo by VeganAide.
Pistachios can be enjoyed right of the the shell, but they're also excellent to cook with. Robin Robertson's newest cookbook Nut Butter Universe features several recipes made with pistachios, such as Stuffed Squash with Brazil Nuts and Pistachios and Pistachio Butter Biscotti. The book's recipes are versatile and the nut butters are interchangeable, so if you're a fan of the green nut, feel free to use pistachios or pistachio butter in some of the recipes that for a different type of nut or nut butter. Pistachios would work really well in recipes such as Bryanna's Chocolate Double Nut Clusters or Nut Butter Fantasy Brownies, and pistachio butter would add a nice flavor to Nutty Buddy Burgers. Nut butters are so versatile that the recipe possibilities are endless!

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