Iran is the largest producer of pistachios in the world. Iranian pistachios are very delicious and are available in many varieties and flavors. No other producer can compete with Iranian pistachio producers.
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Loading capacity Type Packed in bags Packed in carton 20 foot container 14 tons 12 tons 40 foot container 24 tons 20tons 12 meter trailer 19.5 tons 19tons
Sex Life of the Pistachio
What happens when you put a male pistachio tree together with a female pistachio tree? Of course, little baby pistachios. Isn’t nature great? It may be surprising to learn that sex does enter into the life of the pistachio–not sex as humans know it, but certainly pistachio style sex. Pistachios trees are dioeciously in nature, meaning that the sex of some trees is male and some female, and that both are needed for complete pollination. The female trees produce the nuts while the male produces the pollen. Hmm, that seems not too unfamiliar from human procreation. One male tree is needed for every six female trees, a fact that could spark some interesting parallels, but, don’t worry, we won’t. Male and female pistachio trees are often grafted together to bring about pollination. The farmer also relies on the wind to aid in pollination in order for fruit to “set,” or begin to develop. Waverly Root, in his book, Food, expounds, almost with adoration, on the distinctive green color of the pistachio being responsible for its popularity throughout the centuries. Referring to food in general, he explains that, “It can please the palate without pleasing the eye, but if it also pleases the eye; it will please the palate even more. Taste is a mysterious phenomenon, to which psychological factors contribute largely; one of those factors is color. It is probably most potent at the beginning of a meal and at its end. Color in hors d’oeuvres stimulates the appetite; color in desserts harmonizes with their gay, festive nature. One light-hearted color is lacking for desserts: green.” The pistachio certainly fills the gap and lends its warm green hues to many desserts, especially pistachio ice cream, a long-time American favorite. If you’ve never experienced the delightful tastes and textures of pistachios, begin with purchasing the fresh, raw nuts in the shell. Then simply pull apart the half-opened shell and enjoy. A hint of sweetness comes through the rich nutty flavor. The texture, if they’re truly fresh, will have a distinct crispness . We, too, have to agree with Waverly Root that the pistachio’s rich, slightly yellow-green color presents a pleasing invitation and beckons one to reach for another nut. The pistachio tree bears a resemblance to an apple tree with its appealing round shape and a trunk that may be singular or multiple. Rather unique among nut bearing trees, pistachios grow in clusters like grapes, each nut enclosed in its own reddish-green hull instead of each nut growing singularly. The female nut most commonly grown in California and revered for its large size is the Kerman, whose seed originally came from Iran.
Pistachio Growing Pistachio trees will often grow in poor soil where other trees will not survive. More important to their survival is the proper climate. Pistachio trees thrive in hot dry summer weather and prefer cool winters. They do not do well in humid or damp areas .Considered small trees, pistachio trees typically grow from16 feet to 32 feet high. The pistachio tree takes five to eight years to begin producing “fruit,’ but between the 15th and 20th year they reach maturity and bear fully. Alternate years produce a heavy crop, the off year bearing very little fruit and sometimes no fruit at all. The familiar pistachio nut is actually the seed of the plant. The trees, like many humans, are sensitive to extreme conditions such as drought, or excessive rain, heat, cold, and high winds. The trees develop a brownish green flower in early summer. When ripe, in late summer or early autumn, pistachios split open along their seams called sutures. Those trees that bear a predominance of pistachios that are closed indicate growth conditions that were less than perfect, such as irregular watering. The bright green coloring of the pistachio is completely natural. A deep green color is an indicator of the highest quality nut and brings the best prices. Lesser valued are those that range from yellow to light green. The pistachio is a deciduous tree that can survive for hundreds of years, and even as long as a century in just the right climate. Sometimes introduced into landscapes as ornamentals, pistachio trees stand out with their attractive large, pointed, gray-green foliage that grows two to four inches long. Harvesting pistachios takes place in the late summer or early autumn when the hulls that cover the shell become loosened from the nut or “seed,” indicating a fully mature crop. Large tarps are then spread out under the trees. The trees are shaken while the tarps capture the bulk of the ripe pistachios that fall to the ground. The outer hulls are then quickly removed by rubbing them with coarse burlap in order to preserve the clean, white appearance of the shells and prevent staining. Next, the nut processors soak the shells in water-based brine followed by sun drying, a process that opens the shells even wider. In Turkey, where the pistachios are a little smaller and the shells are not as wide open as the California varieties, the nuts are placed in brine, hulls and all. Brining with the hulls on leaves a pinkish coloring on the shells. Some nut authorities believe that the California growers attempted to copy-cat the appearance of the Turkish pistachios by dying them with red food coloring. Others claim the red dye is used to distract from imperfections and discoloration on the shells due to poor quality of the nuts. The red dyed pistachios were more available 40 to 60 years ago than they are today. Often, unopened pistachios are cracked open by machine. These, too, are considered lower in quality or from trees that were not properly maintained and irrigated. In years past, the sorting of cracked nuts and those unopened was all done by hand, which may explain why pistachios were always more expensive than most other nuts. To salt pistachios, the processor boils them in a salt solution. The nut s are then dried fully and stored in plastic bags. Because of the pistachio’s split shell, processors are easily able to roast the nuts without first shelling them. • Are California pistachios available year ’round? Absolutely. Pistachios are harvested in September, but sufficient supply and state-of-the-art storage systems allow the industry to provide pistachios throughout the year. • How should pistachios be stored? To maintain peak freshness for Pistachios, store them in an airtight container. Pistachios tend to draw moisture from the air, and may otherwise lose their crunch. Kept in the refrigerator or freezer, pistachios can be stored for as long as a year. • How do I know if I’m buying pistachios from California? First, look for the pistachios logo shown above. Second, note the distinguishing characteristics of the California pistachio variety: large, vibrant green nuts with open, naturally tan shells. California pistachios are available salted or unsalted. Some are dyed red for consumers who prefer the colorful shells. And, shelled pistachio kernels are also available. Look for California pistachios in both the grocery and the produce departments of your supermarket. Can pistachios be substituted for other nuts in baking and cooking? Most definitely. Pistachios can make a good thing even better. They add a distinctively delicate flavor, as well as unique color and texture, to appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts. Add them to your favorite creations or try some of these delicious recipes • How many in shell pistachios do I need for a cup of kernels? Two cups of in shell pistachios will yield about a cup of kernels. Pistachios, with their characteristic widely split shells, are easy to open. It takes just 15 minutes to shell about two cups of in shell pistachios. • How does the pistachio kernel get its green color? Plants make a variety of pigments, which contribute color to plant parts such as the flowers, leaves and fruit. The green in the pistachio nut is the result of chlorophyll, the same pigment that makes the leaves green. • How and when do I harvest and process the pistachio trees in my yard? Home harvesting and processing is not complicated. For more information. • How long does it take a pistachio tree to produce a crop? A five-year-old pistachio tree will begin producing a small crop, and will reach full bearing when it is 7-10 years old. Important: Pistachios are wind pollinated, so both a male and a female tree are needed to produce edible nuts. • How long do pistachio trees live? How long do they produce? The pistachio trees planted in are still fairly young, but there are pistachio trees in the Middle East that are over 200 years old and are still producing! • Where can I locate a source for pistachio trees? If you cannot find nut-bearing pistachio trees locally, there are a number of nurseries that sell pistachio rootstock in for a nursery list. • Where can I locate a source for pistachio nut oil, paste, flour, butter, etc.? For a list of companies that sell pistachio food products • Are there different varieties of pistachios? There are many varieties growing in other countries; however, Pistachios are predominantly of the Kerman variety. • How can I open slightly split or nonsolid pistachios? As the pistachio kernel grows, it naturally expands within the shell until it splits open. Nonsolid shells usually contain immature kernels and should be discarded. Tip: Slightly split shells can be opened using one half of the shell from an already-opened pistachio. Wedge the tip of a half shell into the split and turn it until you can retrieve the kernel.
The pistachio tree is native to western Asia and Asia Minor, from Syria to the Caucasus and Afghanistan. Archaeological evidence in Turkey indicates the nuts were being used for food as early as 7,000 B.C. The pistachio was introduced to Italy from Syria early in the first century A.D. Subsequently its cultivation spread to other Mediterranean countries. The tree was first introduced into the United States in 1854 by Charles Mason, who distributed seed for experimental plantings in California, Texas and some southern states. In 1875 a few small pistachio trees, imported from France were planted in Sonoma, Calif. In the early 1900’s the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture assembled a collection of Pistachio species and pistachio nut varieties at the Plant Introduction Station in Chico, Calif. Commercial production of pistachio nuts began in the late 1970’s and rapidly expanded to a major operation in the San Joaquin Valley. Other major pistachio producing areas are Iran and Turkey and to a lesser extent, Syria, India, Greece, Pakistan and elsewhere.
Pistachio growth habits The pistachio is a broad, bushy, deciduous tree which grows slowly to a height and spread of 25 to 30 feet, with one or several trunks. The trees are inclined to spread and droop, and may initially need staking. Their open habit and attractive foliage make them valuable ornamentals. Under favorable conditions pistachio trees live and produce for centuries. Foliage The large, grayish leaves have 3 to 5 roundest, 2 to 4 inch-long leaflets. pistachio flowers Pistachios are dioeciously with male and female flowers on separate trees. Male and female trees must be present for fruit to set, or a branch from a male tree may be grafted on a female tree. The small, brownish green flowers are without petals and borne on maxillary racemes or panicles in early summer. Wind carries the pollen from the male to the female flowers. pistachio fruit The reddish, wrinkled fruits are borne in heavy clusters somewhat like grapes. Although known as a nut, the fruit of the pistachio is botanically a drupe, the edible portion of which is the seed. The oblong kernel is about 1 inch in length and 1/2 inch in diameter and protected by a thin, ivory-colored, bony shell Normally the shells split longitudinally along their sutures when mature. Under unfavorable conditions during nut growth, the shells may not split open. The color of the kernel varies from yellowish through shades of green, which extends throughout the kernel. In general the deeper the shade of green, the more the nuts are esteemed. Pistachio nuts are rich in oil, with an average content of about 55%. The trees begin bearing in 5 to 8 years, but full bearing is not attained until the 15th or 20th year. Pistachios tend toward biennial bearing, producing heavy crop one year followed by little or none the next. Production of nuts is also influenced by drought, excessive rain, heat or cold and high winds.
Pistachio location Pistachios should be planted in full sun. The size of the slow growing trees can be further controlled by pruning. When planting, avoid rough handling since the budded tops are easily broken away from the under stock. Soil The trees do best on soils that are deep, friable and well drained but moisture retaining. It can, however, survive in poor, stony, calcareous, highly alkaline or slightly acid, or even saline soils. The root is deeply penetrating. Irrigation Pistachios will tolerate considerable drought but do best with deep, infrequent watering. Fertilization Since pistachios grow slowly, they do not require large quantities of nitrogen fertilizer. A spring feeding of a complete fertilizer such as 10-10-10 NPK should be adequate. Pruning Pruning can be important to commercial growers in order to shape the trees for mechanical harvesting, but less so for the home orchards. The trees should be trained to a modified central leader with 4 or 5 main scaffold limbs branching about 4 ft. from the ground. After initial training, Little pruning is needed except to remove interfering branches. Heavy pruning reduces yield. Propagation The pistachio is usually propagated in California by budding or grafting selected scions onto seedling stocks of P. atlantics, P. terebinthus and P. integerrima. These rootstock species are used because of their vigor and resistance to nematodes and soil borne fungi. Pests and diseases A number of fungi attack the pistachio. The most serious fungal disease in California is vertically wilt, which can quickly kill trees of varying age. Most pistachios are now grafted to vertically resistant P. integerrima rootstock. The trees are also sensitive to the oak root fungus, Armillary melee. Insect pests include the aphid, Ana pleura lentissimo and several species of leaf-footed bugs and stink bugs. The nuts are also very attractive to squirrels and some birds, including blue jays and woodpeckers. Harvest The nuts are harvested when the husk or hull covering the shell becomes fairly loose. A single shaking will bring down the bulk of the matured nuts, which can be caught on a tarp or canvas. A fully mature tree may produce as much as 50 pounds of dry, hulled nuts. The hulls should be removed soon after to prevent staining of the shells. To enhance splitting, the hulled nuts may then be dipped into water to moisten the shell and spread out in the sun to dry. One method of salting the split nuts is to boil them in a salt solution for a few minutes, then retry and store them. Stored in plastic bags pistachios will last for at least 4 to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. Frozen they will last for months. The pistachio is unique in the nut trade due to its semi-split shell which enables the processor to roast and salt the kernel without removing the shell, and which at the same time serves as a convenient form of packaging. About 90% of California pistachios are consumed as in-shell snacks. Shelled pistachios are utilized commercially in confectionery, ice cream, candies, sausages, bakery goods and flavoring for puddings. They can also be added to dressings, casseroles and other dishes. Commercial potential Pistachio nuts are considered one of the prime edible nuts, along with almonds, macadamias and cashews. The production of pistachio nuts in California has increased dramatically in recent years, from some 4-1/2 million pounds in 1977 to over 80 million today. With additional promotion, production is estimated to ultimately exceed 129 million pounds. Countries of origin This Table shows only a selection of the most important countries of origin and should not be thought of as exhaustive. Europe Turkey, Greece, Italy, South of France Africa Tunisia Asia Iran, Afghanistan, India, Syria, Iraq America USA (California), Mexico Australia Packaging Pistachio nuts are packaged in, among other things, wooden boxes cartons, playbacks (25-60 kg) and in jute bags (60 kg). Airtight packaging is ideal because pistachio kernels readily absorb moisture from the air, so becoming limp and beau.
Risk factors and loss prevention
RF Temperature Pistachio nuts require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions for this reason, precise details should always be obtained from the consignor as to the travel temperature to be maintained. The stated travel temperature of 0°C is the ideal temperature for achieving the longest possible storage life, but higher travel temperatures (5 – 25°C) are feasible (depending upon the duration of the voyage), so this product need not necessarily be carried as chilled goods. Temperatures > 30°C should not prevail for a long period, as respiration of the cargo is otherwise promoted. Pistachio nuts should not be stowed near heat sources (engine room bulkhead, heated tanks). Above all, they must not be exposed to sunlight, as these results in impaired flavor. RF Humidity/Moisture Pistachio nuts require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions Designation Humidity/water content Source Relative humidity 65 – 70%  Water content 6%  4%  6%  Maximum equilibrium moisture content 65%  Precise details should be obtained from the consignor as to the relative humidity to be maintained during the voyage. Pistachio nuts must be protected from all forms of moisture (seawater, rain and condensation water), since there is otherwise an increased risk of mold, rot and rancidity. They rapidly absorb moisture from the air and the flavor becomes insipid. Sodden packing drums or bags must be rejected as seawater, rain and condensation water Promote hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage, which leads to self-heating as a result of increased respiration. RF ventilation Pistachio nuts require particular temperature, humidity/moisture and ventilation conditions. Recommended ventilation conditions: air exchange rate: at least 10 changes/hour (airing) RF biotic activity Pistachio nuts display 2nd order They are living organs in which respiration processes predominate, because their supply of new nutrients has been cut off by separation from the parent plant. Care of the cargo during the voyage must be aimed at keeping decomposition processes at the lowest possible level, so as to keep within limits any losses in quality caused by the emission of CO2, heat and water vapor. RF gases In pistachio nuts (particularly when fresh), metabolic processes continue even after harvesting. They absorb oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide (CO2). If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out. The TLV for CO2 concentration is 0.49 vol. %. RF self-heating / spontaneous combustion Oil content: ● 45 – 54%  ● 55%  Because of their tendency to self-heating, pistachio nuts may behave like substances from Class 4.2 of the IMDG Code. Excessive stack pressure results in self-heating. Oils which have accumulated in the jute packaging fabric encourage this behavior. Pistachio nuts, especially pistachio kernels, should not be stowed together with fibers/fibrous materials as oil-soaked fibers may promote self-heating/spontaneous combustion of the cargo. As a basic principle, high oil content (especially in pistachio kernels) encourages the tendency to self-heating. Fat decomposition in pistachio nuts leads to the risk of self-heating and, ultimately, to a cargo fire. Fat decomposition may proceed as follows: by hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage or by oxidative fat cleavage Hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage If the critical water content of the pistachio nuts is exceeded, this promotes hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage. Fat-cleaving enzymes are activated by the elevated water content. The additional action of light and heat may accelerate this process. Free fatty acids sometimes have an unpleasant odor and taste. In the event of extended storage or improper cargo care, these cause the cargo to become rancid. The free fatty acids formed are consumed by respiration processes in the pistachio nuts to form carbon dioxide and water, a process which is associated with considerable evolution of heat. Self-heating of pistachio nuts is an extremely vigorous process, as the consumption of fatty acids by respiration processes is associated with a considerably greater evolution of heat than is the case with the respiration equation for carbohydrates. Here too, as with cereals, the spoilage process proceeds in a type of chain reaction, because heat and water are formed by the fatty acids consumed by respiration, which in turn contribute to an intensification of the process. The self-heating of pistachio nuts requires only a small seat of moisture, so that within just a few hours heating may occur at moist points for which weeks or months would be required in goods dry on shipment. Fresh pistachio nuts with high water content tend in particular towards rapid self-heating and may also ignite. Self-heating of pistachio nuts leads not only to a reduction in the utility value of this product (rancid odor and taste) but also has a qualitative and quantitative effect on oil yield. The color and bleach ability of the oils are also negatively affected. The oil obtained complicates refining of the crude oils in subsequent processing, because higher free fatty acid content makes decolonization substantially more difficult. Hydrolytic/enzymatic fat cleavage and respiration may be limited by low temperatures; however, this may only be affected to a limited degree during transport. It is therefore important to ensure storage stability by complying with the limit values for the water content of the goods. Oxidative fat cleavage Food components frequently react with atmospheric oxygen in spoilage processes. Atmospheric oxygen may enter into an addition reaction with unsaturated fatty acids through the simultaneous assistance of light, heat and certain fat companion substances, and possibly also traces of heavy metals. Rancidity caused by oxidative fat cleavage is particularly noticeable in the case of shelled pistachio nuts, because the shelling process results to a certain degree in exposure to atmospheric oxygen or to the steel parts of the ship or the container walls, if not carefully covered. It is therefore absolutely essential to store pistachio nuts in the dark and to protect them from oxygen and metal parts, since otherwise they become brown-colored and develop a rancid odor and taste. RF Odor Active behavior Pistachio nuts have a very slight, pleasant odor. If they are transported or stored for an extended period without ventilation, they spoil and release a strong odor. Passive behavior Pistachio nuts are sensitive to unpleasant and/or pungent odors. RF contamination Active behavior Risk of contamination of other goods by fats and oils. Passive behavior Pistachio nuts are sensitive to dust, dirt, fats and oils. RF Mechanical influences Pistachio nuts are impact- and pressure-sensitive. They may suffer breakage. Excessive stack pressures must in particular be avoided. RF Toxicity / Hazards to health If ventilation has been inadequate (frost) or has failed owing to a defect, life-threatening CO2 concentrations or O2 shortages may arise. Therefore, before anybody enters the hold, it must be ventilated and a gas measurement carried out. The TLV for CO2 concentration is 0.49 vol. %. Danger: pistachio nuts may contain aflatoxin. The molds Aspergillums flatus and Aspergillums parasitic us produce the toxin aflatoxin, which may be present in the cargo as a result of an attack by the above-mentioned mold types. In general, this is “country damage”, i.e. The toxin is already present in the pistachio nuts at the time of harvesting. As a rule, aflatoxin is only found in individual pistachio nuts. If batches intended as a human foodstuff are affected by this toxin, the product can no longer be approved for human consumption. Pistachio nuts affected by aflatoxin cannot readily be distinguished from the other nuts in a batch. The toxin may be detect. RF Shrinkage/Shortage Weight loss of up to 1% due to moisture loss may occur. As pistachio nuts are a relatively valuable cargo, there is considerable risk of theft. RF Toxicity / Hazards to health Insect infestation is possible: mites, cockroaches, saw-toothed grain beetles, flour beetles, meal moths, dried fruit moths and rats and mice may attack pistachio nuts. Pistachio nuts from the previous year’s harvest have a particular tendency to beetle infestation. The quarantine regulations of the country of destination must be complied with and a phytosanitary certificate and fumigation certificate may have to be enclosed with the shipping documents. Information may be obtained from the phytosanitary authorities of the countries concerned.
Health benefits of Pistachio
Medicinal benefits of pistachio A Loma Linda University medical study published results that should encourage us all to eat a 3 to 3 1/2-ounce serving of nuts five or more times a week. Those participants who ate nuts five times a week throughout the study showed a decrease in their LDL (the bad cholesterol) levels as well as total cholesterol levels. Those with lower cholesterol readings were at a lower risk for heart attack. It may be interesting to note that in spite of the intake of 35% of calories from primarily monounsaturated fat, participants showed no significant weight increase. Kathleen E. McMahon, PhD, RD, writes on behalf of the California Pistachio Commission, “Current status of research on monounsaturated fats in nuts demonstrates that eating nuts can play a role in lowering coronary heart disease risk by decreasing both total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.” Pistachios are rich in phytosterols, known for lowering blood cholesterol. Animal studies have shown that phytosterols may have anti-cancer properties. According to the 2000 USDA Dietary Guidelines that recommend a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, pistachios are an ideal food. In the well-known DASH diet study, eating 4 to 5 servings of nuts per week played an important role in lowering blood pressure in patients with hypertension. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, found in pistachios are important in maintaining normal blood pressure. Pistachios are a key player in the highly respected Mediterranean diet as well and are considered one of the major components of the diet. Studies revealed that those on the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk for heart disease and hypertension. In numerous medical studies comparing dietary data of vegetarian and plant based diets to standard American diets, vegetarians and vegans consistently register the lowest rates of chronic diseases and the longest life expectancy. An important staple of the plant-based diet is nuts and seeds.
If you want to store a large quantity of nuts, it’s best to put them in heavy-duty freezer bags and freeze them. Frozen, they will keep for several months. For shorter storage you can refrigerate pistachios for up to 4 to 6 weeks. If pistachios stored over a long period lose their natural crispness, you can quickly revitalize them. Just place them on a baking sheet and heat them in the oven at 250 to 300 for 6 to 9 minutes. If you simply enjoy nibbling on a handful or two of pistachios a day, and are using them up quickly, they can spend a few days sitting in a bowl on your kitchen counter without becoming rancid. Serving Part of the pistachio’s appeal is the ritual of gathering around a bowl of nuts and cracking them open to retrieve the emerald treasure inside. Pistachios make an ideal snack to serve guests or to enjoy as a between-meal nibble. What more perfect finish to a satisfying meal could there be than an attractive bowl of fresh pistachios. So inviting, they beckon one to reach out, pluck a singular gem, and begin that joyful process of pulling apart the shell, and finally tasting the rich sweetness of the nutmeat itself. Raw Pistachios can be enjoyed whole, chopped, coarsely ground, and finely ground. Add a few shelled, chopped raw, unsalted pistachios to soups and salads as a garnish, or use one or two handfuls as a main ingredient in a salad dish. Grind raw unsalted pistachios in an electric coffee grinder and add them to fresh vegetable or fruit juices for a protein boost. Add raw, unsalted pistachios to the blender when making smoothies.
Add raw pistachios to stir-fry dishes. Use them as a garnish in steaming hot soups. Bake them into casseroles. Add raw pistachios to grain dishes at the end of cooking. They’re especially attractive with the lighter color grains, such as rice, quinoa, millet, and barley. Include pistachios in any legume pates, such as a lentil pate. When the pate is sliced and arranged on a platter, the pistachios stand out and lend eye appeal. Grind raw unsalted pistachios in an electric coffee grinder and add as a thickener to soups and sauces. Choose your basic ingredients carefully because ground pistachios will clearly affect the color of your finished dish. PERSIAN RICE WITH SAVORY PISTACHIO SAUCE 1 1/2 C. (355 ml) Basmati brown rice 3 3/4 C. (894 ml) water 1 1/2 t. salt 1/3 C. (79 ml) currants Pistachio Sauce 1 C. (237 ml) raw, unsalted pistachios 3 C. (717 ml) unsweetened soy milk 1 1/4 t. salt freshly ground pepper to taste* Vegetables 2 large carrots, coarsely grated 2 large zucchini squashes, coarsely grated 1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 1/2 t. each oregano, basil, marjoram 3/4 t. salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 T. extra virgin olive oil 2 T. water 1/4 C. (59ml) raw whole pistachios Garnish Chopped pistachios Currants 1. First start rice cooking by combining the rice, water, and salt in a 2-quart (2 liter) saucepan. Cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat down and steam for 35 to 45 minutes, or until tender. 2. Put currants in a small bowl and cover with hot water to plump them while preparing remaining ingredients. 3. Next prepare sauce by grinding the pistachios in an electric coffee grinder in small batches. Pour ground nuts into a small bowl and set aside. 4. Combine soy milk, salt, and pepper in a 2 or 3-quart (2 or 3 liter) saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Watch carefully that it does not boil over. Slowly, add ground pistachios to the bubbling sauce, stirring constantly with a wire whip until sauce thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside. Sauce gets thicker as it sits. 5. Combine carrots, zucchinis, onions, herbs, seasonings, olive oil, and water in a deep 12″ (30 cm) skillet. Sauté over high heat until vegetables are soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. 6. Drain water from currants and add to skillet along with the 1/4 C. (59 ml) raw whole pistachios.