Can You Eat Pistachio Shells? [All You Need to Know]

Can You Eat Pistachio Shells
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Pistachios are fun to eat – they’re quite hands-on for a snack, delicious, and nutritious. But what’s not fun is the number of shells left behind once you’re done snacking. Is there anything we can do about the shells, such as eating them instead of tossing them?

You cannot and should not eat dried pistachio shells. Dried pistachio shells are hard and indigestible, meaning you could break your teeth and scrape your throat if you swallow them. And because you can’t digest them, passing pistachio shell pieces can hurt you.

But don’t let that discourage you from enjoying an otherwise healthy snack. Let’s look at how you can eat pistachios and what you can do with the shells.

Do You Eat Whole Pistachios?

Whether you can eat whole pistachios depends on how you acquire them. Did you buy them with or without the shell?

If you bought them with the shell, don’t eat the pistachio whole. The shell is hard and can crack or chip your tooth. They can also be sharp, increasing the risk of scrapes on your throat and intestinal tract.

However, if you accidentally swallow a loose piece of shell or two, don’t panic. You’ll pass them normally without any problems. As long as you don’t regularly eat them, you shouldn’t encounter any issues.

On the other hand, if you bought our pistachios without the shell, then eat away! The hard work is already done for you, so all you have to do is enjoy it. You might have to shake off any remaining skin on the nut if you don’t want to eat them.

What Can You Do with Empty Pistachio Shells?

Unless you bought pistachios with the shells already off, ending up with a large pile of empty shells is unavoidable. Some might see throwing away such large amounts of natural byproducts as a waste. Is there anything we can do to pistachio shells other than tossing them into the trash can?

Believe it or not, empty pistachio shells can be used for quite a few applications. Although none involve consuming the shell, all of these steps include returning them to nature one way or another. Let’s take a look at them:

  • Compost them – Pistachio shells may not be edible, but that doesn’t mean they’re not biodegradable. Soak them in water and crush them before adding them to your compost pile.
  • Use them for arts and crafts – Pistachio shells are smooth and porous, making them perfect for arts and crafts projects. Make sure to wash and dry them first before using the shells.
  • Plant protection – Salted pistachio shells are perfect for this application. [1] Take your unwashed shells and spread them around your outdoor plants evenly. The salt on its surface will stop snails and slugs from bothering your garden.

Do You Eat the Skin on Pistachios?

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with eating the skin on pistachios, but it’s also understandable why people would rather not eat them. The skin can be a slight nuisance on dried pistachios – they stick on your teeth or the back of your throat. They can also be unsightly if you’re using pistachios in a recipe.

But if you’re just eating them on their own, then you don’t have to worry about the skin. You can eat pistachio skin without a second thought, which won’t harm anything. Most of the time, you won’t even notice its presence because most dried pistachios sold nowadays still have the skin attached.

can you eat skin on pistachios

How to Peel Pistachios?

If you’re using pistachio nuts for a dish or dessert, you probably don’t want loose skin bits floating around. They can detract from the otherwise perfect appearance of the food and can make things look “dirty.”

Thankfully, peeling pistachios is easy. Here’s how you peel them:

  1. Remove each nut from the shell and place them in a container. Make sure you leave enough room for the water.
  2. Pour boiling water over the nuts. The ideal amount is two cups of water per cup of pistachio. Do this in batches if you must.
  3. Let the nuts sit for about three minutes to make sure the water soaks through each one. Drain your water once your three minutes are over.
  4. Spread the nuts across a towel, then cover them. Use the covering towel to “wipe” or “rub” the nuts to loosen the skin.

If the skin is still on after doing the steps above, consider using more water or soaking fewer nuts at one time. Repeat the process until the water permeates the skin enough to separate it.

Do You Eat Pistachios Raw?

Eating pistachios raw might be a foreign concept if you’re used to buying roasted ones from stores. But as it turns out, eating raw pistachios might be better for you.

Most pistachios sold in stores are salted, which means the sodium content becomes a concern the more you eat them. And that’s a shame because pistachios contain lots of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and protein. [2] Finding unsalted ones can be difficult, depending on what stores you have near you.

This is why you should eat pistachios raw if you can find them. They have a slightly different flavor than roasted ones – raw pistachios are milder than their roasted counterparts and have a starchier texture. You might even get a citrusy aroma if you get a really fresh batch.

And if the difference between the texture and taste is off-putting, do the transition a bit at a time. Consider starting with a few pieces of raw pistachios along with your roasted pistachios, and increase the number of raw ones the next time you eat. With a gradual change, you will eventually get used to its texture and flavor.

To conclude, pistachios are an excellent choice for snacking – they’re chock full of vitamins and minerals, and you get more nuts per serving because of their size. They can also help with portion control if you buy them with the shell still on. Better still, the entire nut is edible except for the shell.

But even if you can’t eat the shells, they have plenty of uses. You can use them for compost or add them to your next arts and crafts project. With a bit of creativity and resourcefulness, you can enjoy pistachios without worrying about waste.

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