Answer: The pistachio is a drupe. It's botanically related to cashews, peaches and mangoes. Pistachio trees can reach 30 feet in height. It takes trees about 15 years to begin producing significant quantities of nuts; but they'll continue to grow pistachios for hundreds of years. The trees grow in parts of Iran, Turkey, Syria, Greece, Italy and in the Western U.S. -- areas that have long, hot summers and cool winters.
The edible kernel is surrounded by a hard shell that begins to open on the tree as the nut matures. When the shells don't split, they can be opened artificially, by hand or machine. The hard shell is covered by a soft, fruity husk which is removed during processing.
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