VI: Pistachio

What the oldest pistachio tree says about Iran.

sextidi, the 26th of Brumaire, Year CCXXXI
Pistachios in their little clam shells. Photo by Theo Crazzolara / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is sextidi, the 26th of Brumaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate la pistache, a nut that sticks its tongue out at you.

The pistachio is one of those nuts that's actually a fruit. The shell hardens around the fruit – the part we called a pistachio once it's shelled – then audibly pops when the fruit is ripe. That splitting shell is something humans have cultivated and selected for over many thousands of years. Other cousins of the P. vera tree we think of as common pistachio don't have split shells at all, as we soon shall see...

There's a rumor going around, complete with photographs, that a 1,500-year-old pistachio tree is growing in Iran.