Unlike other nuts such as walnuts, cashews, or pecans, pistachios develop a natural split in their shells during the growing process, which means that they don’t need to be fully shelled to be roasted, salted and flavored. By eliminating this step in the production process, growers can keep their costs down, and consumers get to enjoy the satisfying process of shelling their pistachios at home.
The only problem with buying shell-on pistachios is that you usually end up with a great big pile of pistachio shells to throw away. But rather than putting them in the garbage, here are four things that you can do with them.
Use them to improve the drainage for your houseplants
If you’ve ever tried to keep a houseplant alive, then you know the struggle that is providing proper drainage. Without adequate drainage, when watered, houseplants can get root-rot and die, so it is essential to add some form of drainage to your pot if you want your plant to live a long and happy life. Believe it or not, pistachio shells are actually the perfect drainage medium for house plants, allowing excess water to drain away from the soil. Simply give your shells a rinse and then add them to your pot before filling the rest with soil.
Compost or mulch them for your garden
Just like all other organic matter, pistachio shells will also compost down into a nutritious growing medium for your plants when added to your compost bin. To speed up the process, you may want to consider soaking them in water for 24 hours before tossing them into your compost, but this extra step isn’t wholly necessary if you don’t mind waiting for a little longer.
Use them as a craft supply
If you have children or like to try your hand at arts and crafts, then give your pistachio shells a rinse and then let them dry before keeping them aside to use in your next arts and crafts session. A super simple craft that you can make with pistachio shells is a soothing rain stick, or check out some of these other ideas such as pistachio fish scales or a painted pistachio necklace. There are literally hundreds of ways that a pistachio shell can be used in arts and crafts if you have the imagination.
Make them into potpourri
Last but not least, pistachio shells are exceptionally porous, and so they hold onto scent very effectively, making them an excellent fixative in a potpourri blend. Simply soak your pistachio shells in your chosen essential oils for a few hours so that they can absorb the smell, and then dry them before mixing them in with the rest of your potpourri. You can keep them natural or decorate them if desired.
So there you have it - the next time you find yourself looking at a pile of empty pistachio shells rather than seeing rubbish, we hope you see a whole host of possibilities.