20 Aug

Pistachio love

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. 

Female pistachio treeWe 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.

post-pistachio-drupes2 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.

post-pistachio-red-new-growthThe 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.




5 thoughts on “Pistachio love

  1. Hi Guys.

    We living up near Trancoso, and I tried for a while now to find decent exemplars of Pistachios (with known gender).
    Unsuccessful I have to add. Can you tell us where you found your Kerman varieties?

    Greetings from Fiaes


    • Hello, thanks for getting in touch! Sorry for the very slow response.
      I got the Kerman trees from a nursery near Castelo Branco, but via the Fundao market, where I asked one of the vendors, and then they shipped me the trees. Not great since one died as they were stuffed in a box, but usually one would just pick them up anyway.
      There are also some nurseries in Spain that sell Larnaca variety… I have been told that they are better suited for our climate. Let me know if you want a contact there… please email me via this website, or via Facebook. thanks :)

  2. Please, please more info on where to buy pistachios, which nursery near Castelo Branco? Have just bought a place that’d be perfect for them… thankyou Laura

    • Hi there, we bought these trees from a seller on the Fundão market.
      I also saw someone advertise them on OLX.
      and you might also find Tristan Coverdale on Facebook, he sometimes bunches up an order for fruit and nut trees.
      good luck! These trees take a while to bear fruit, but they are also quite resistant to drought, we have ours growing in a fairly dry spot with poor soil. They need irrigation in the summer for now… hopefully once fully established, they’ll need less of that…

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