As one of the oldest flowering nut trees, humans have eaten pistachio nuts for at least 8,000 years. That pistachios and other nuts are a healthy addition to any diet is probably not widely disputed, and some quick research suggests that they are a good source of protein, fiber, magnesium, thiamin, and phosphorus, as well as vitamin B6, copper, and manganese. Apparently, “The Pistachio Principle” suggests that we tend to eat fewer of these nuts because of the extra effort involved in breaking their shells open, thus not gorging ourselves as we might with shelled nuts.
In April of 2015 we planted 6 pistachio trees of the Kerman variety. We also planted 4 almonds, 2 Reine Claudes, and a few other citruses. But this post is about the pistachios. We found a seller on the Fundao market, more or less ignorant about varieties. But it turns out that Kerman pistachios are the most desirable because of the large nuts and widely split shells.
We gave two pairs away to friends, and planted 6 on a terrace with lots of sun and deep soil. Pistachios are dioecious, so each female needs at least one male tree nearby. With some quick math we have loose projections and vague promises of pistachio abundance in about ten years. If all goes well, the trees will reach full production in about twenty years. 5 mature trees could yield as much as 150 kilos per year.
2 months after planting they have settled in nicely with lots of new growth, beautiful fresh and waxy new leaves of lush shades of red and green. Even one tree where the irrigation dripper was faulty took nicely. New leaves and shoots have a red-green appearance that is quite beautiful. I will let the photos speak for themselves here.
The climate here in Portugal is, from what I could gather looking at ideal growing conditions, well-suited for this plant. The long hot summers are important, and it seems to be a tree that does well in arid conditions, which we definitely have here, despite the sometimes very wet winters.
So curious to see how they develop. Will keep you posted… I’m sure this won’t be the last time I write about pistachios.