Pistachios can spontaneously combust.
Source: Original photo by fcafotodigital/ iStock
Next Fact

Pistachios can spontaneously combust.

It turns out there’s a price to pay for how tasty and nutritious pistachios are: Under the right circumstances, they can spontaneously combust. Everyone’s favorite shelled nut is especially rich in fat, which is highly flammable. Thankfully, that only becomes a problem when pistachios are packed too tightly during shipping or storage. It’s important to keep the nuts dry lest they become moldy — but if they’re kept too dry and there are too many of them bunched together, they can self-heat and catch fire without an external heat source. 

“Flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing.
Ready to Reveal?
Confirm your email to reveal the answer

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Incorrect.
It's a Fact
If you watched “Clarissa Explains It All” way back when, you already know that these two words are synonyms despite appearing to be antonyms. When describing something that can’t catch fire, the word you’re looking for is “nonflammable.”

Though exceedingly rare and easy to avoid if the proper instructions are followed, pistachio self-combustion is a real enough concern that the German Transport Information Service specifically advises that pistachios “not be stowed together with fibers/fibrous materials as oil-soaked fibers may promote self-heating/spontaneous combustion of the cargo.” Don’t worry, though: It won’t happen in your pantry with just a few bags, which means you can indulge in the shelled snack of your dreams without worrying about their flavor becoming unexpectedly smoky.

Make Every Day More Interesting
Recieve Facts Directly In Your Inbox. Daily.

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Numbers Don’t Lie
Tons of pistachios produced per year worldwide
911,829
Country that produces more pistachios than the U.S. (Iran)
1
Grams of fat in one cup of pistachios
56
Years a pistachio tree can live
300
Pistachios are known as “_______” in China.
Pistachios are known as “happy nuts” in China.
Ready to Reveal?
Confirm your email to reveal the answer

By subscribing you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Think Twice
Raw cashews are toxic.

Cashews are delicious, but you’d never know it from looking at a cashew tree — they’re quite strange-looking. If seeing one in the wild makes you hesitant to eat the fruit they bear, there’s a good reason for that: Cashew shells are toxic. They contain a toxin called urushiol, which triggers a delayed allergic reaction in the form of a painful, itchy rash; urushiol is also found in poison ivy, which, like cashews and pistachios, is a member of the Anacardiaceae family of trees. It’s for this reason that cashews are roasted before being sold and consumed, even those labeled as “raw.” Doing so removes all traces of urushiol and makes them safe to eat.

Article image
You might also like
6 of the World’s Most Fascinating Islands
From the Frankenstein-like “Montauk Monster” of New York’s Plum Island to Easter Island’s curious moai statues in the middle of the Pacific, here are six of the world’s most fascinating islands and their mysterious stories.