The pistachio is the fruit of the deciduous tree, bistacia vera, native to the Near East but now grown in many parts of Asia, the Mediterranean and the warmer regions of the Americas.
The nut is about the size of a small olive. It has a small, green kernel with a sweet, distinctive flavour, encased in a thin, yellowish-red wrinkled skin. The kernel separates easily from its shell when the nut is broken open.
Pistachios are sold in their shells or shelled and blanched. They are used in the making of sweets , cakes and frozen desserts. They are also added to meat stuffings and incorporated into many savoury dishes. Sometimes the nuts are crushed and the green colour from the kernel is extracted and used as a food colouring.