Pistachios: Everything You Need to Know
Did you know that hearing the crack of a pistachio shell is considered good luck in some countries? What about this nut’s distant cousins—mangos and poison ivy? Then there’s the whole weird green color (thanks to chlorophyll), and we’ve heard talk of Turkey wanting to fuel a town entirely on pistachio shells.
 
Needless to say, there’s a lot to about this strange nut and its strange history. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled answers to some of the most-asked questions about pistachios—our September produce feature—as well two fun recipes. Read on to see why this nut is everything it’s cracked up to be.
 

What is the pistachio and where did it originate?

(Answer courtesy of Planters, one of our valued vendor partners)
The pistachio nut, a native of Iran, Syria and Greece, has been cultivated for more than 10,000 years. It is considered by some to be one of the oldest edible nuts on earth and is referred to in the Old Testament—Genesis 43:11—along with almonds. The pistachio belongs to the same family as the cashew. The fruit of the pistachio differs from all other nuts because of its green color and the semi-opening of the shell. In Iran, it is called the "smiling pistachio" and in China it is called the "happy nut." Because of this physical characteristic, it is the only nut that does not need to be shelled for roasting and salting. It used to be common to dye pistachios red to cover any blemishes on the shell but most consumers now prefer the natural color.
 
It was not until the 1930s, when vending machines became popular, that pistachios imported from Italy became a popular snack food in the United States. After WWII, the evergreen trees that bear pistachios were imported to California. The name pistachio is the Italian version of the Persian word pistah, which means “nut”.
 

When and where do they grow now?

While it’s easy to purchase pistachios at any time during the year, these nuts are at their best tasting and greatest value during the harvest, which—according to the American Pistachio Growers organization—can take place anywhere from late August to early October. In America, most pistachios are harvested in western states, such as California, Arizona, and New Mexico.
 

How are they picked?

Growing in clusters similar to grapes, pistachios tend to naturally fall off the tree when they ripen, where they are gathered by hand, net, or some other means. Sometimes, harvesters will also shake the branches to help the nuts fall off. Good pistachio nuts will split while on the tree, although some will not. Typically, the only pistachios sold in stores are the ones that have naturally opened.
 
 

Are pistachios good for you?

Yes! In fact, you can break down the research surrounding this nutritional nut into at leastsix major health benefits:
 
Healthy Heart
According to evidence, a daily intake of pistachios appears to help with lowering levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) in the body, thanks in large part to this nut’s rich source of antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytosterols.
 
Weight Management
In comparison to dried fruits and other nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, etc), pistachios are low calorie, protein rich, and low fat—making this nut the go-to snack for weight management. In other words, this nut makes that feeling of fullness last longer without the extra calories/fat.
 
Prevents Macular Disease
Researchers have also found pistachios to be high in lutein—a nutrient that’s found in most dark green leafy vegetables. This antioxidant is particularly important in healthy vision, as it helps reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
 
Dietary Fiber
As with most nuts, pistachios are great for intestinal health due to their dietary fiber. One ounce (30g) of pistachios can contain about 3 grams of fiber, which is more than enough to boost daily digestion.
 
Aphrodisiac Properties
A 2011 study (Aldemir et al) suggests that pistachios can improve reproductive vitality among men by at least 50% after three weeks of 100g (roughly 3.5oz) taken daily.
 
Antioxidant Properties
Pistachios are such a rich source of antioxidants that even their shells contain large amounts of this nutrient, according to researchers from Tarbiat Modarres University. Antioxidants are important as they can help reduce the risk of cancer.
 
 

How much should you eat per day?

Most sources recommend 1-2 handfuls a day (roughly 1.5-3oz or 200-400 calories), although you should be careful about how the pistachios are served. Eating raw or roasted pistachios is the most nutritional option, but sweetened or salted pistachios can be a nice treat so long as you keep an eye on the intake.
 

Raw vs. Roasted Pistachios: Which one is better?

Usually the heat of cooking results in a loss of nutrients, yet pistachios are a different story. According to Healthline and other sources, these nuts largely do not change in terms of health benefits, whether they’re roasted or raw. Both varieties contain similar amounts of calories, protein, carbs, and fiber.
 

What to do with pistachio nuts?

The great thing about nuts in general is that there are many easy ways to incorporate their nutritional goodness into your daily diet. Pistachios alone can make for a great snack at work, after school, or while watching Monday night football with friends. Beyond that, pistachios have been included in many different recipes—savory and sweet alike, as seen by these two highly rated recipes from Betty Crocker:
 

Apricot-Pistachio Rolled Pork

4+ stars rating
Prep: 30 min | Total: 5 hour 35 min
Servings: 12
 
“Get dinner rolling with pork loin that’s wrapped around a sweet, crunchy apricot-pistachio filling and roasted to perfection.”
 
Ingredients
1 single uncut boneless pork loin roast (4 lb)
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup chopped pistachio nuts
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup apricot brandy or apricot nectar
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
¼ cup coarsely crushed cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ cup apricot preserves
 
Directions
  1. To cut pork roast into a large rectangle that can be filled and rolled, cut lengthwise about 1/2 inch from top of pork to within 1/2 inch of opposite edge; open flat. Repeat with other side of pork, cutting from the inside edge to the outer edge; open flat to form rectangle.
  2. Sprinkle apricots, 1/2 cup nuts, the garlic, salt and pepper over pork to within 1 inch of edge. Tightly roll up pork, beginning with short side. Secure with toothpicks, or tie with string. Pierce pork all over with metal skewer. Brush brandy over entire surface. Let stand 15 minutes. Brush again with remaining brandy. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
  3. Heat oven to 325°F. Place pork, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in thickest part of pork. Roast uncovered 1 hour 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons nuts and garlic salt; cook and stir 1 minute. Cool slightly.
  5. Brush preserves over pork. Sprinkle with crumb mixture. Roast uncovered 30 to 60 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 160°F. Cover and let stand 15 minutes before serving for easier carving.
 
Read more: You might also try your hand at this Apple-Stuffed Pork Loin Roast recipe, courtesy of Angry Orchard
 
Expert Tips
Add color to the fruit and nut filling by replacing half of the dried apricots with dried sweetened cranberries.
 
Piercing the pork and allowing it to stand after brushing with apricot brandy helps to heighten the apricot flavor of the roast.
 
 

Cran-Pistachio Cookies

4 star rating
Prep: 60 min | Total: 60 min
Servings: 48
 
“Prize-Winning Recipe 2010! Pistachios, pudding mix and cranberries stir up with sugar cookie mix for a melt-in-your-mouth cookie.”
 
Ingredients
Parchment Paper
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1 box (4-serving size) pistachio instant pudding and pie filling mix
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter or margarine, melted
2 eggs
1 cup dry-roasted salted pistachio nuts, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
 
Directions
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheet with Reynolds Parchment Paper; set aside. In large bowl, stir together cookie mix, pudding mix and flour. Stir in melted butter and eggs until soft dough forms. Add pistachios and cranberries; mix well.
  2. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on lined cookie sheet. Press with fingers to slightly flatten.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.
 
Read more: In a rush? Our bakery can help.
 
Expert Tips
Place food directly on Parchment Paper and bake as directed. Treats will bake evenly and release from paper with ease. Plus, because you're baking right on the paper, clean-up is a breeze.
 
For even baking, make sure cookies are of the same shape and size.
 
You can find shelled pistachios in the nuts-for-snacking section of your local Brookshire Brothers.
 
 

DON’T FORGET:

Pistachios can last for many months before going bad if you store them in airtight containers in cool and dry places.
 
Read more: Your groceries in the fridge can also last longer with more effective storage strategies.  
 
5 Fun Ways to Fix S'mores
Any day that commemorates s’mores will be a beautiful day, but #NationalSmoreDay (Aug. 10) is also likely going to be very hot. If you’re looking to bring the fun indoors while celebrating this classic campfire treat, we’ve got recipes for every need. Check it out:
 

Peanut Butter Cup S’mores Dip

 
Peanut butter cups + s’mores? We need some-more of this one! This recipe is quick to fix and popular at parties, no matter the weather.
 
If peanut butter candies hit the sweet spot for you, try out our “Reese’s Perfect Pass Snack Mix” recipe for another treat!
 

Caramel S’more Cups

Take dessert or your bake sale to the next level with this popular Betty Crocker recipe!
 
Betty Crocker also inspired these three adventurous popcorn recipes that are great for movie nights!
 

Ooey-Gooey Pancake S’mores

Who knew breakfast could taste so fun.
 

S’more Bark

If this bark has bite, it’s all delicious crunch. This super-simple recipe has three ingredients and only takes ten minutes to prep!
 
For another classic snack, check out the “Sweet and Salty Chex Mix” recipe from our Catering Coordinator Kate Rudasill!
 

Mini S’more Cookie Tacos

The pinnacle of s’more evolution—a sweet s’more taco.
 
Find a store today to get started!

 

Seasonal Produce: Summer Refresher
In our current society of instant everything, it’s easy to forget that some things aren't so “ready-right-now.” Produce is one such thing that often requires extra time and patience. Sure, some fruits and vegetables are available to purchase all year round, but there’s usually a time and place when you can get them at their best flavor and greatest value. It may be hard, for example, not to indulge a craving for summer blueberries at any time during the year, but consider how during the winter it would take two weeks for blueberries to be shipped from Chile—with tax. Shopping according to the seasons means you’ll save money, plus you’ll prepare five-star meals with ingredients that are seasonally fresh. 
 
Our point is, it’s always good for any shopper to get a refresher on what’s currently in season and what’s not. Since it’s the beginning of August—which most of us equate with being the height of summer, according to the temperatures—let’s talk summer produce:
 

Summer Fruits

(According to the USDA)
 
Apples
Apricots
Avocados
Bananas
Blackberries*
Blueberries*
Cantaloupe*
Cherries*
Honeydew Melon*
Kiwifruit*
Mangos
Nectarines*
Peaches*
Plums*
Raspberries
Strawberries
Watermelon*
 

Summer Vegetables

(According to the USDA)
 
Beets
Bell Peppers
Corn*
Carrots
Collard Greens
Cucumbers*
Eggplant*
Garlic
Green beans
Lima beans*
Okra*
Summer Squash & Zucchini*
Tomatillos*
Tomatoes*
 
The produce marked with an asterisk(*) is only in season during the summer. All other produce is in season for more than one season.
 
Next time you visit your local store, keep this guide handy! You can always count on Brookshire Brothers to do our best in bringing quality produce to customers.
 

Looking for ideas on how to tap into your taste buds with summer produce? Check these out:

 
Healthy fruit snacks—with a twist! Here's the menu: Grape Sticks, Grilled Peach Salsa, Melon Rings, and more.
 
Corn, zucchini, squash… a whole garden of summer veggies comes together to make two garden fresh recipes from our Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill.
 
In case you need another reason to fill up on summer fruit, here’s a brief overview of their nutritional merits from Angela Larson, a registered dietitian.
 
Sweet tooth? Kate’s got you covered. Amaretto Peach Parfaits and Peach Blueberry Upside-Down Cake are great recipes to send off the summer before school starts.
 
Keepin' it fresh: How to store groceries
With longer days and no school, summer is often a great opportunity to get things done around the house (especially if you skipped spring cleaning). While it’s common for a To-Do list to include cleaning the fridge out, not many people realize that there is an optimal way to organize the food in their fridge. Below are some tips on how you can keep your groceries fresh with good storage.
 

THE DOOR

The warmest temperatures. Recommendation: Non-perishables
 
Lunch, dinner, breakfast, snack time, second breakfast—whatever the reason, most people are in and out of their fridge throughout the day. Consequently, the refrigerator door becomes a high traffic site for warm room temperatures. The USDA confirms these circumstances with their suggestion to store your least-perishable foods in the door, such as condiments. In fact, even though some refrigerators have door compartments for eggs, USDA claims it’s better practice to store a carton of eggs on a shelf.
 

UPPER SHELVES

Mild and cool temperatures. Recommendation: Ready to eat food
 
When it comes to organizing the refrigerator shelves, Science 101 reminds us that heat rises while cold air sinks. In other words, foods that do not depend on cold temperatures to remain fresh and safe should usually be stored on upper shelves in the milder temperatures. These foods might include leftovers, dairy products, cooked meats, and other packaged foods. Additionally, storing these foods at the top of the fridge keeps them separate from raw food that should be stored on the lower, colder shelves.
 

LOWER SHELVES

The coldest temperatures. Recommendation: Meats and poultry
 
Aside from the science of sinking air, the bottom of the fridge is also where the refrigerator coil is often located, rendering it the coldest place to store groceries. This is usually the best spot to keep highly perishable foods such as raw meat, poultry, and seafood. For best food safety practice, the USDA advises to keep these particular foods secure in the original packaging or a sealed container to prevent cross contamination.
 

CRISPER

Cold and moist temperatures. Recommendation: Fruits and vegetables
 
According to ReFED, fruits and vegetables account for approximately 40% of annual food waste in the U.S., which is more than almost all other types of food combined. Part of this waste could be resolved with better storage, which is where crisper drawers come in handy. These drawers are designed to retain moisture, making it the optimal place to store fresh produce (otherwise they dry out).
 
Most food guides further recommend separating fruits and vegetables if there are two drawers. A natural plant hormone called ethylene can cause sensitive types of produce to become overripe. In other words, storing an apple with cucumbers could cause the cucumbers to ripen too quickly. There are lists that specifically distinguish which produce types ethylene-generative and ethylene-sensitive, but an easy rule of thumb to remember is that most fruits are the former, while most vegetables are the latter.
 
Remember, the above guidelines are general. Some fridges have different designs so don’t ignore what you’ve noticed about your own fridge. Nevertheless, hopefully these tips will help you maximize the use of your fridge, as well as the life of your groceries!
 
 
Popcorn + Movies = Summer Movie Nights

Need to unwind after a full day of summer fun? A movie night is a classic option that won’t break the bank and requires only a few crucial ingredients: the movie, the people, and—of course—the popcorn. We’ve pulled together a few ideas and recipes to make your evening really pop!

Nacho Popcorn

Some might say you can’t do better than regular popcorn, but have you considered what happens when you put TWO great things together? Case in point: Nacho Popcorn. It’s the best thing since the donut taco, and it only takes fifteen minutes to prepare. To go along with your salty and spicy popcorn, we recommend watching The LEGO Batman Movie or The Fate of the Furious.

Oven Caramel Corn

The pairing of caramel and popcorn is as time-honored as Belle and the Beast. Furthermore, this sweet and salty happily-ever-after only gets better when it’s prepared in the oven. Most people agree that oven cooking creates a better texture and taste, plus the clean up is easy if you line your pan in foil. Allow yourself to have a little fun with this recipe and enjoy our recommended tale as old as time, Beauty and the Beast.

Cinnamon-Popcorn Snack

The wonderful thing about movies is that they can give you a glimpse of the world without ever leaving your couch potato position. Consider complementing your adventure with a spice that has its own exotic history—cinnamon. In other words, this snack bursts with flavor, and at only 150 calories per serving! Check out the recipe above while you’re movie surfing. We suggest Smurfs: The Lost Village and Kong: Skull Island.

Find a store near you to get started on creating your own popcorn recipes!

Pour & Explore: A Trip Around the World of Wine - Argentina

How would you like to visit Argentina without ever buying a plane ticket? You can immerse yourself in the wines, culture and food of this amazing country on Thursday, July 20th.

It’s called Pour & Explore: A Trip Around the World of Wine. This quarterly event is hosted by Brookshire Brothers alongside our partners from the Lufkin Convention and Visitors Bureau. This is the fourth installment in this fine wine and dinner series. Tickets for the five-course paired meal, featuring Finca Agostino wines and Chef Kate Rudasill’s Argentina-infused menu, are on sale through the Lufkin CVB. For more information, call 936-633-0359.

Find other Specialty Beverage Events here.

Fourth, Food, Fun, Fireworks

Independence Day is right around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited! The 4th of July is a time to gather your friends and family, spend time outdoors, and enjoy the sunshine. For a great way to celebrate America’s Independence, follow these fun steps –

1. Plan Ahead
The questions usually start arising about a week before... “What are your plans for July 4th?” Beat everyone to the question by inviting friends and family to a backyard barbecue! You may not have time for paper invitations, but send a group text, create a Facebook group or send e-vites so everyone can mark it on their calendar.

2. Create the Menu
Don’t stress about preparing each dish. Guests want to help out by bringing dishes. So, when you get RSVPs from friends and family, ask them if they could bring a side dish or dessert. We’ve got a great selection of recipes here. Once everyone contributes a dish or two, you’ll have a 4th of July spread that’s worthy of celebrating!

3. Take Grilling Tips
Our Market Experts are Expert Grillers! Ask them for their best grilling tips when you’re picking out your favorite cuts of meat. Search our wide variety of Market items in our Meat Department.

4. Think Outside the Box
Meat and veggies are NOT the only items that are grill-worthy. Try your hand at grilling some of your favorite fruits, too. Our Catering Coordinator, Kate Rudasill, suggests splurging for a grill basket or grill wok to place your favorite fruit and vegetable slices in. Find other tips from her on our Cooking with Kate blog!

5. Enjoy the Fireworks
Now that all the cooking, socializing, and eating has commenced, you can sit back and relax while watching the firework show!

Have a safe, fun, and tasty 4th of July!

 

Par for Father's Day

What’s better than a golf themed Father’s Day? We couldn’t think of anything better either. Whether your Dad is just there for fun, or if he is a golf fanatic, every man enjoys some time out on the green. Forget the ties, monogrammed golf markers, and picture frames. This year, we’re suggesting a great food-filled day and party that will go straight to his heart – and stomach!

To start this Father’s Day out right, give him a hearty breakfast that will keep him fueled all the way to the 18th hole.

This Eggs Baked in Bread Bowls recipe will suit the tastes of bacon-lovers to French toast guys. 

Keep him going at lunch by serving his favorite cut of meat. Every man loves a good steak, and our Certified Meat Cutters can offer advice on the best cuts! Find options, recipes, tips and more from our Chop Shop here.

Finally, end the afternoon by hosting a golf-themed party at his favorite course. Invite the entire family to celebrate your special guy. Purchase paper goods to match the theme, wrap silverware in a napkin and tie with yarn or ribbon, and have genuine hole-in-one service! After a large breakfast and lunch, Dad will welcome a sweet treat. Try out these cupcakes that are perfect for all cupcake lovers and enjoy spoiling day this year!

Hawaiian Foods Week

Go Hawaiian with us! National Hawaiian Foods Week is June 11-17 and we're celebrating with in-store samplings, Hawaiian recipes, contests and more! 

Deli Lunch Specials

Our deli experts will be hula dancing while preparing these Hawaiian dishes!
(Available in select locations. See store for details.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday: Pulled Chicken Sliders
Monday: Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple Salsa
Tuesday: Blackened Salmon
Wednesday: Teriyaki Hamburger Patties
Thursday: Macadamia Nut Crusted Tilapa with Mango Salsa
Friday: Teriyaki Chicken with Mango Salsa
Saturday: Pulled Pork Sliders

Demo & Samplings

Want to Hawaiianize your meal? We've got the recipes for you here! You can also find several of our stores with samplings and demonstrations presented by King's Hawaiian. See your local store for more details.

Hawaiian Vacation

We saved the best for last! We want to reward our Brookshire Brothers and David's customers by giving away this exclusive vacation. YOU could win a 3-night stay in Honolulu for you and a guest and 2 tickets to the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival, plus $500 spending money for your vacation! Be sure to enter soon! The contest ends June 25, 2017. Find out more here: www.hawaiianfoodsweek.com/brookshirebros.

Check out more #HawaiianFoodsWeek fun here.

Fill A Glass. Feed A Family.

That gallon of milk you consider a staple in your refrigerator – including the essential nutrients it provides – is missing in food banks and in the refrigerators of families in your community.

The rate of food insecurity in Texas and Louisiana is startlingly higher than even the national average. More than five million of our neighbors – including more than one in every four children – do not have access to enough nutritious food to enjoy an active and healthy life.

According to Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, milk is one of the most requested items by food banks. While Americans are generous with canned and dry goods, many don’t think to donate milk because it is perishable…but you can!

In partnership with Feeding America and The Great American Milk Drive, Brookshire Brothers is helping to fight hunger in our communities by making it easy for shoppers to provide milk, including its high-quality protein, to families in need. Milk is more than just a drink – it is the top food source for three out of the four nutrients Americans, including children, are most likely to be missing– calcium, vitamin D and potassium.

Since its launch in 2014, The Great American Milk Drive has delivered more than 400,000 gallons – that’s more than 6.3 million servings – of highly desired milk to Feeding America food banks across the country, including more than 8,000 gallons for families in need right here in Texas and Louisiana. However, there’s so much more that we can do.

June is National Dairy Month. Now through June 30, 2017, you can help bring even more nutritious milk to families and children in need in your community with a donation of as little as $1, $3 or $5 when checking out at Brookshire Brothers and David’s locations across Texas and Louisiana. 

All donations collected will help local families in Texas and Louisiana get milk that they may otherwise be missing out on.  We hope to see you in a Brookshire Brothers or David’s store soon, and at check-out, please consider making a donation to The Great American get Milk Drive to ensure our local Feeding America food banks can provide nutrient-rich milk to our neighbors in need.

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