A handful of raw pistachios makes a tasty snack, but salting and drying or roasting them really brings out their strong, nutty flavor. Raw pistachios contain moisture, which causes them to go rancid and spoil quickly. Shelling raw pistachios and placing them in a salt brine adds more moisture, but roasting evaporates the excess moisture and leaves behind only the dry nut and salt. This process results in a more flavorful nut that keeps better than the raw, in-shell pistachio.
Fill a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, or more to taste, and bring the water to a full boil.
Submerge 2 cups of shelled pistachios in the salty water solution. Return the water to a boil; boil the nuts until the water has evaporated, stirring occasionally so the nuts don't stick to the bottom of the pan. For a lighter salt flavor, dunk the nuts in the solution for 1 or 2 minutes; then drain them in a colander.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit for fully boiled pistachios or to 200 F for dunked and drained pistachios. Spread the nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Bake the nuts for 10 to 15 minutes at 300 F, or for 15 to 20 minutes at 200 F. Check the nuts to verify they are completely dry. Continue to roast, checking the nuts every 5 minutes until they begin to turn golden.
Remove the pan from the oven and allow the nuts to cool completely. Store them in a sealed container in the pantry or the refrigerator.
- If you are drying freshly picked pistachios before salting them, remove the fleshy outer hulls and spread them out in a warm, dry, sunny area for about a week, or until the nuts become firm and have a slight crunch.
- Salt is only one flavor option for pistachios. Toast the nuts in a light oil with pepper, a Creole seasoning blend, lime juice or even hot sauce. Coat the pistachios with oil and the preferred seasoning before roasting them in the oven or toasting them in a dry skillet over medium heat.