Monday, February 12, 2007

Jeanne N. writes: “What is the purpose of the red dye on pistachio nuts? They don’t add any flavor. The only thing that happens is your fingers stay red for a very long time.’’Not knowing any nut experts in Racine (a few nuts, though), we used Google to help with this question. And we found that Jeanne is right. The red dye on pistachios doesn’t add flavor. Growers started dying the nuts long ago to cover blemishes in the shells. Modern machines are much better at picking out quality nuts, but a lot of people are used to red pistachios so the dye remains (along with red fingers). A few interesting side notes: 1.) Pistachios grow on trees and audibly split as the fruit ripens. Legend goes that lovers who stand under the trees and hear the popping shells will have good luck. 2.) Not that anyone but us would wonder this, but the phrase ’’caught red handed’’ has nothing to do with pistachios. That old phrase comes from the grisly image of someone with blood on their hands.

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