Pistachios in Babylon

 Photo by:  @alison__wu

Photo by: @alison__wu

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were lined with pistachios. 

It was said that the king planted the gardens for his homesick queen, who was from the forested mountains of the Median Empire. He did this so that she would be surrounded by the plants she was most familiar with. The imperialism and romance that forged Babylon itself also extended to its plants, and pistachios were most revered among them.

In fact, it is said the Persian pistachio sits above all others. Perhaps this is why it smiles. In fact, the ancient name of the pistachio found in Iran is "Persia" itself, and its cultivated roots tap in deep. One legend goes that the Queen of Sheba recognized its perfection, so she decreed that it would be an exclusively royal food. 

The pistachio is one of two nuts mentioned in the Old Testament, (though in reality it is a seed ) where it was decreed to "carry down some of the best product of your land...a little balm and a little honey,  aromatic gym and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds." And it was indeed carried down...the pistachio continued to move in the world, through the Silk Road and far beyond.

Information from: American Pistachio Growers and Penn State News.

Liz PearComment