Picture of How To Open a Pesky Pistachio Nut
I hate it when I'm eating pistachio nuts and I find one that has only opened a tiny bit. This quick technique, taught to me by my friend Lloyd, will open these problematic legumes every time without risking sore fingernails or broken teeth.

When you encounter the pistachio nut that is just barely open, the first instinct is to use your fingernails to pry it open, crunch it with your teeth, or just swallow it whole. But resist those urges and read on to learn this handy trick.

Step 1: Use the Right Tool for the Job

Picture of Use the Right Tool for the Job
You should always use the right tool for the right job, and lucky for you, you already have a whole pile of the right tool already near by when you are eating pistachio nuts.

Grab a discarded 'pistachio nut shell half', and stick the top of the small end into the partially-opened pistachio.
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how simple is this then???? well done...

briansmylie24 days ago

Yo. Brilliant!

mcline28 months ago
WOW! Wish I had read this before mangling both thumbnails and assorted fingernails, not to mention sending needle sharp shards everywhere via firecracker!!

PERFECT! Just sitting here eating lunch and had this exact problem. Your solution is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

wow, great! i searched it while struggling with the pistachio! such a wonderful idea! As diamond cuts diamond, pista cuts pista! :)

Gee102 years ago
I am a pistachio grower. Just for info - they are not legumes!
Also, the shells that don't split on the end or just split on the suture across from the hinge does not mean that they are not ripe. Just means you have to work a little harder to get to the nutty goodness inside. Fingernails, teeth, metal openers, hammers, .45 acp or pistachio shells doesn't matter. Just get it.
NonaSuymo3 years ago
This is a great instructable. :) Although I usually just use a hammer. Kinda messy, since multiple shell pieces get everywhere, but when a nut wants a nut... ;)
melibrarian3 years ago
I can't believe people are so rude as to take your excellent tip and then to diss you about your fingernails. Folks, have you ever eaten pistachio nuts and then looked at your own fingernails? Please!
Wow, it saved my fingernails! Thank you. I almost bought a pistachio opener. Now, to enjoy more pistachios...
TechShopJim (author)  coconutstudio3 years ago
Hi CoconutStudio...

Please try to find a way to support the pistachio nut opener industry, even though I have taught you this secret. Thousands of Americans in that industry lose their jobs each day.

Won't you help?
mattlscc3 years ago
Best instructable yet... works great!
jereza3 years ago
This is really useful. I'm sitting in a hotel room right now and have a whole pile of barely opened pistachios. I knew there was a trick but didn't remember it. Thanks, TechShop Jim!
TechShopJim (author)  jereza3 years ago
I'm just glad I could make a difference!
cappie823 years ago
First: OMG!! People, they are just nuts, just use your brain!!! Anyone with even half of one would eventually have found someway to efficiently open them, I'm sure. It's a nice tip of course, but I didn't realize there were that many people in this world that can't open a pistachio.
Second: Yes, nice manicured hands are preferable, but come on, not every guy is a "metro-sexual"..
And Third: To TRIPLEC...Yes, the nut does look like some kind of computer chip...Hmm, Oddness... :)
Buy enough nuts that that one that isn't open won't matter. In the used shell bowl or rubbish barrel. If you buy a pound, you may have a dozen bad nuts worth 1/2 cent.
ladykila3 years ago
I have found my handy dandy home tool kit helpful. In this case a hammer usually ends up with a bruised thumb, so instead I opted for pliers just gently squeeze the nut. The further back your hand is on the handles the more control you have. Remember to shield the rest of the nut with your other hand or it may have pieces flying.
lancruz4 years ago
My my! Isn't this clever! I've opted for the fancy tools myself. I'll try this technique and gloat about where I picked this up.
bobcash4 years ago
Snaps! This is an excellent idea for gals with false nails too. Bravo!
TheGreatS4 years ago
I needed this so much. I have a delishous bag of pistacios and this will help me get them ALL open.
kylekosan234 years ago
i insert a butter knife and twist
diesel456454 years ago
ooooh a laser cutter is so traditional these days? Lol :P
Cacophonix6 years ago
This is a useful instructable :)
oh yes, indeed.Yes, please wash your hands ;)
TechShopJim (author)  chipscolaman4 years ago
Yuck, I agree!

I did this Instructable back when I was actually making a LOT of things. My fingers were permanently stained with oil and dirt, like a mechanic's hands.

Now days, I'm unfortunately not making as many things so my fingers are clean all the time and no longer stained.
cr0wseb6 years ago
Well... But how to get the first shell if you open a nut with a shell ? Do we have to get a shell to get a shell to open a nut ? looool
oruiz2 cr0wseb4 years ago
haha thats funny but confusing at the same time haha
this is for pesky pistacio nuts.
Emphacis on pesky
Most can be opened with your fingernails, but it is a bit contracitial...
'was just for the joke ;-)
bugg-4 years ago
Excellent Job !!! Thank you very much...!
cubesnail4 years ago
When in doubt, C4
hoshichii~5 years ago
J-Five5 years ago
I know it wouldn't be the best way but TNT!!!!
J-Five6 years ago
My way of opening one is a hammer.
thats usually how i used to open them but i always hit my finger by accident


larsrc J-Five6 years ago
Yum. Pistachio mush.
twocvbloke5 years ago
I always use my teeth for stubborn 'stachios, especially the ones that haven't even opened up, I put them between my back teeth with the ponty end up, then bite down until it splits, just try not to put too much pressure on it otherwise you'll end up with shell shards in your gums.... :S
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