(CNN) - Get crackin'! February 26 is National Pistachio Day.
It's not every day that a simple nut has its own dedicated advertising campaign, and a cheeky one at that, but the humble pistachio is more than deserving.
Pistachios require a little elbow grease to eat because the greenish edible seed is encased in a harder outer shell that you have to crack open. There are many tips on how to do this, some more practical than others. The least labor intensive way is to simply wait. Pistachio shells will open easily if they're fully ripe. The same effect is achieved by roasting.
If the nut doesn't yield from its shell easily, you can always use half of a shell from an already cracked nut to help. The half shell acts as a lever; insert it into the opening of the whole, unopened nut and twist. This should release the pistachio from its shell.
Because pistachios have been around since as early as 7,000 B.C., they have a lot of historical significance and symbolism. In Iran, they're known as the "smiling nut." In China, they're called the "happy nut."
One of the earliest desserts made with pistachios was baklava. This Middle Eastern pastry often features a nutty component, such as roasted pistachios. Making baklava at home can be time-consuming and sticky (so props to you if you give it a go!). Here's a quick cheat version:
Mix chopped, roasted pistachios with some honey and cinnamon. You want the mixture to be thick, not runny. (Orange blossom honey works great here.)
Then, lay one sheet of store-bought phyllo dough on a flat work surface and brush it with melted butter. Add a second layer of dough, and cut it into 3-inch squares.
Lightly brush a large muffin tin with melted butter and lay a square into each opening. Spoon in the pistachio syrup and bring the sides of the dough up around it.
Pinch the edges closed so you've got a little parcel. Brush the tops of the parcels with more melted butter and bake in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven until the phyllo dough browns. This will take about 10-12 minutes.