Nuts are healthy for us and make perfect snacks and ingredients in many recipes. Did you know that pistachios can be documented as far back as 20,000 B.C.? Originally, pistachios were considered food for nobility. They were also thought to bring good luck to lovers. It wasn't until 1976 that the nuts began commercial production in the U.S. in California and they immediately became popular.
Pistachios are related to mango, poison oak and cashew trees. They grow as clusters covered with red husks that are inedible. After the husks are removed, the nuts split open when they are mature and the nuts' greenish color comes from chlorophyll, just as in the leaves of the tree.
Do you remember when pistachios were dyed bright red? U.S. producers dyed the nuts to mimic the color of the brined nuts found in the Middle East. When natural foods gained popularity, the red fell out of favor. It's fun to split them open and pop them in your mouth. What do you do with the ones that still tightly sealed? Hammers are good tools.
If you're looking for some fun things to make this summer, take a look at these books:
"30-Minute bracelets" by Marthe Le Van contains 60 different quick projects. These can be fashioned from metal, leather, beads, ribbons and more. Step-by-step instructions, a materials list and diagrams will help you complete the projects in no time.
Jenny Doh has written "We Make Dolls!" Professional dollmakers share their tips on how to make many different kinds of dolls. Nearly two dozen dolls with traceable patterns include animals and children. There's something for everyone in this volume.
"Natural Wooden Toys" by Erin Freuchtel-Dearing contains 75 kid-safe designs made from natural materials. Even if you don't have any experience, you'll be able to make these toys, since the author started with no prior knowledge. Designs include themes from fairytales, forest, farm, ocean, and city.
Handmade gifts for baby and mom are featured in "Baby Times" by Abbey Lane Quilts. There are quilts, pillows, wall hangings, toys, clothing, diaper bags and much more. All are sewn; patterns and instructions included.