What's up with red pistachios?

I love pistachios. The first ones I ate were of the red variety. For years I didn’t know there was an undyed variety. (as a kid I thought pistacios red by nature - didn’t understand why pistachio ice-cream was green).

When I discovered undyed pistachios, I approached with caution but was a quick convert. Now, years later, I just can’t imagine why anyone would choose the hard-to-get-off-sonofabitchin-red variety.

Why the dye?

From the SD Mailbag:

I heard that in the olden days when people were sneaky they died the shells red to hide blemishes. Nowadays pistachios mostly come from California and do not get as blemished so natural shells look good. The red remains as tradition.

Well…fine then.

OK, so we know why the started dying them red, but why do they continue to do so? One could say tradition, but who would still want to even buy thr red ones? Why go through the process of having your hands all red if you don’t need to? If there is someone out there who still prefers red over natural, please tell us why. We need to all, collectively, stop buying red ones so they only give us natural ones.

I haven’t seen red pistachios in ages (except the ones dusted with chili powder). But when I was a kid, I always saw pistachios sold as a mix of half red and half white. And as I remember it, the white ones were really white, not just natural.

Because Martha Stewart hath so decreed.

Further: If I ever end up stranded on a deserted island that… grew… only… red… ones (yeah, that’s the ticket) and am thus forced to coat my fingertips with the red stuff - what’s the best way to get it off?

Customers were found to prefer the undyed nuts, ergo, bye-bye red stuff. I even remember red and green ones during the Christmas holidays. BUT, I’ll still take those dyed, or not, harder-to-open, smaller, imported pistachios over the much larger, easier-to-open, natural Californias. Why, you breathlessly ask? Taste, pure and simple. I wouldn’t give you a nickel for a ton of those West Coast grown pistachios. The imported Iranian or Turkish though, are worth whatever they charge for them. If you can get your hands on some, do a comparison taste test. The difference is instant and obvious.