Thinking about pistachios reminded me that they used to be red, and the color would get all over your fingers and lips when you ate them. Dog, that was fun! But why did they do that? Why put a color on a nice, white pistachio when you know it will run all over your customers' faces?
The shell of the pistachio is naturally a beige color, but it is sometimes dyed red or green in commercial pistachios. Originally, dye was applied by importers to hide stains on the shells caused when the nuts were picked by hand. Most pistachios are now picked by machine and the shells remain unstained, making dyeing unnecessary except to meet ingrained consumer expectations.I must go buy some. I haven't seen red ones in years, but that's what I want. I won't feel like I ate pistachios unless my lips and fingertips turn red. Mmmmm. (But I totally don't get how the shells were stained through the process of hand-picking. You'd think a machine might cause problems, but a nice soft hand wouldn't. Just saying.)