Native to the Middle East, pistachios are known in Iran as the “smiling nut,”
and they have a long history, dating back some 9,000 years. According to
legend, pistachio trees were planted in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
The Queen of Sheba, it is said, reserved the entire pistachio crop for herself
alone. The Bible (Genesis 43: 11) makes mention of pistachio nuts too.—TS
tractors, the “shaker” and the “receiver,” work
together as a team, making their way down a
row of pistachios in tandem. Mature shells
are shaken o; the tree, then slide down one
of two de;ecting tarps and into a harvesting
bin. Once the bin ;lls, these pistachios go
into a huller, much like an industrial potato
peeler, and running water rubs the hulls o; the
nuts. ;e remaining pistachios are then dried
using a special method that reduces the water
content from 35 percent to 5 percent. ;ese
dried nuts ;ll up the silos where they are stored
until a ;nal roasting, just prior to shipment.
Before becoming Kirkland Signature nuts,
Costco’s California pistachios are immersed in a
saline solution and then roasted at just the right
temperature, for just the right amount of time,
to attain that perfect crunch.
Costco sources only naturally opened,
tree-ripened pistachios. Nuts that don’t open
naturally can be cracked open arti;cially,
but you won’t ;nd them in a bag of Kirkland
Signature California Pistachios, according to
Costco assistant buyer Michael Yi. He says,
“It has been our experience that an arti;cially
opened pistachio does not have the same taste
or quality as that of a naturally opened, mature
pistachio. It’s the way Mother Nature intended.”
Safety and sustainability
It’s important to note that along with new
research into the pistachio, modern technologies mean growing techniques at Nichols,
Paramount and Setton Farms are ever more
food safe and sustainable. To reduce the risk
of food-borne illness, pistachios never touch
the ground and are processed immediately.
Pathogens are eliminated through a drying
process with careful attention to temperature
levels and duration of heat. And strict FDA
health and safety standards are adhered to.
All three of Costco’s pistachio suppliers are
at work making their farms more sustainable
as well. ;ey make extensive use of solar
power from systems they have installed on
their properties. ;ey recycle all the water they
use in their annual harvesting process. ;ey
use micro-irrigation in their orchards. ;ey
have even found ways to reuse the hulls and
shells extracted during the harvest.
Costco’s corporate buying team—Sheri
Flies, John Lee and Michael Yi—spends a
great deal of time ensuring that their exacting
speci;cations are being met, monitoring every
aspect of the pistachio growing, harvesting
and roasting process and focusing on quality,
value and consistency.
The heart-healthy pistachio
Pistachios are being seen more and more as
an indispensable part of a healthful diet. ;ey
are a portable, plant-based protein, a good
source of ;ber, and low in saturated fats and
cholesterol, making them a heart-healthy snack.
If you’re a pistachio a;cionado, you’ve no
doubt noticed that pistachios have two distinct
colors: purple skin and green ;esh. “;e green
in pistachios is actually the same green you
;nd in leafy green vegetables,” Maggie Moon,
Paramount’s senior manager for nutrition
communication, tells me. ;at means they’re
full of lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that
promote eye health. “;e purple in the skin,”
she continues, “signals anthocyanin, an antioxidant associated with blueberries.” Still, I
doubt parents will have to scold their kids to
get them to eat their pistachios.
And that’s Kirkland Signature California
Pistachios, in a nutshell. C
Tracy Schneider lives with her husband and
daughter in Washington state.
LOOKING FOR OTHER nuts for holiday
baking or snacking? In addition to
Costco’s Kirkland Signature™ California
Pistachios and Salt and Pepper Pistachios,
you’ll ;nd many more varieties of Kirkland
Signature–brand nuts on warehouse
shelves, including the following:
Nuts for every taste
and any occasion
Almonds: California Nonpareil-variety
almonds are perfect for baking as well
Dry Roasted Almonds: California
grown, dry-roasted to perfection
and seasoned with sea salt, these
almonds are a popular choice for
Marcona Almonds: Imported from Spain,
these specialty almonds are delicately
roasted and lightly salted.
a roasted and lightly salted.
Cashews: Whole fancy cashews are
roasted in peanut oil with sea salt.
Mauna Loa Macadamia Nuts: These
highly sought-after, Hawaiian-grown nuts
are dry-roasted and seasoned with sea salt.
Mixed Nuts: A delicious blend of almonds,
cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts and
Brazil nuts is carefully roasted in peanut
oil and sea salt.
Pecans: A favorite for baking during
the holidays—or for snacking anytime—
these Junior Mammoth Halves are
always fresh and full of ;avor. Pecan
Super Extra Large Peanuts: Only the
best Virginia-variety peanuts make the
grade for these specially roasted nuts.
Pine Nuts: Prized for their culinary
applications, pine nuts are a key
ingredient in Italian pignoli, pine
Variety Snacking Nuts: Our popular
cashews, dry-roasted almonds and
extra-crunchy peanuts are packaged
individually in one container for on-the-go snacking.
Walnuts: Grown and harvested in
California, these walnut halves and
pieces are known for their quality