One of my favorite snacks to eat while watching movies are pistachios! Pistachios are a healthy choice for a snack and contain the following health benefits:
- Unsaturated fats (healthy kind) – good for lowering heart disease risk
- Potassium – good for muscle cramps
- Fiber – like eating vegetables (good for bowel movements), helps with feeling full (prevents overeating)
- Protein – good for building muscle, helps with feeling full (prevents overeating)
- Vitamins/Minerals (Manganese, Copper, Phosphorus, Vitamin B) – good for normal body functions
Although pistachios are quite tasty, they can also be a hassle to break open. They are fairly easy to break but your fingertips can feel a bit worn out when you have been eating them for too long of a period.
What is worse is when you encounter a pistachio that has a small crack in it but is not quite big enough for your fingers to break apart. Although you try your best to open the pistachio, it just doesn’t seem to want to break. So what do you do then? Throw that pistachio away?
My (Initial) Experience with Opening Difficult Pistachios
Throwing that one pistachio away might actually be easier as I am pretty sure the other 80 to 90% of the pistachios in the bag are normal. BUT…I am a pretty stubborn person. When I encounter these “difficult” pistachios, I will find ways to break it open since I find it as a sort of challenge.
My first go to option? To bite it until it breaks or opens! It doesn’t always work out but after a few attempts, my jaw gets tired and my teeth start to feel tender, so this may not be the best option. In addition, when the pistachio does break open, pieces of the shell end up in my mouth so that is not a pleasant experience especially when halfway chewing on a pistachio nut.
My next go to option? To find a hammer or a mallet. This works well with breaking the pistachio shell! But sometimes you also end up crushing the pistachio nut. Other times, the whole pistachio shell will just fly across the room. So maybe still not the best option but perhaps as a last resort.
The Method that Works the Best (and Most Conveniently with Consistency)
One day I just became too lazy to go find other tools to open those difficult pistachios with ESPECIALLY on the days when those tools are misplaced by others. So what did I do? I figured (from taking physics) that to open pistachios, I need to take advantage of the forces of leverage. Levers work by producing a large amount of force (in a small distance) from inputting a small amount of force (over a large distance) when the lever is set at a certain (fulcrum) point. If done correctly, the lever should generate enough power to break the pistachio shells open.
The physics talk can sound confusing so how to put it in simpler terms? Let’s use something to PRY open that stubborn pistachio nut! Instead of grabbing a crow bar (which probably wouldn’t fit the crack on the pistachio nut anyway), I figured I would need something durable that is also thin enough to fit through the crack. What tool would that be? The pistachio shell (half)! It is a pretty durable thing but even if it breaks, you still have double the amount of pistachios that you have already eaten as backup (2 shell halves per nut).
To do this technique, you slide the shell half into the pistachio with a small opening and start prying, if it doesn’t break, then as you pry, slide the shell half deeper and keep prying until the shell breaks. And there you have it, each pistachio practically provides you with the necessary tools to open it.
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What About Pistachios that Do NOT Have a Small Opening?
Just know that there is actually nothing wrong with the pistachios. In fact, this is the form that all pistachios start with. It is through the drying and roasting process that the pistachio starts to split open which gives it that form we are most familiar with. If in the unfortunate case that you encounter pistachios WITHOUT a small opening, you won’t have too much of a choice but to go back to the original caveman ways of opening pistachios. This means using a hammer or some other heavy-duty tool to hit the pistachio.
Keep in mind that while using a hammer or mallet, the pistachio may fly across the room. This happens because there is no anchorage for the pistachio as you hammer. If you wrap one (or several bunches of) pistachios with a towel, they will have nowhere to go when you hammer it. Just remember not to hit too hard that you end up crushing the edible part too.
If you are lucky, the pistachio shell will break completely without the edible part being crushed. On the other hand, if you manage to create a small crack that is big enough to use another shell to pry it open, then that is also a win for you.
Pistachios are great snacks to have. They are healthy compared to other snacks like candy or chips (although these are good every once in a while too). But unlike regular snacks, there is a little process to open pistachios so that you obtain just the edible portion of it. Not every pistachio is the same but there are some strategies that you can utilize to access the nut. After a while once you get the technique down, eating pistachios can actually be fun. Have fun with eating your pistachios!
Did you enjoy this life hack on how to open those difficult pistachios? Please leave a comment below!