The pistachio tree is native to central Asia where it grows best in arid and semiarid regions that experience long and dry summer seasons. The trees take between 7 to 8 years to start producing any crop but full maturity for good yields takes another 20 years.
Farmers plant male trees upwind about 10 – 15 miles away from the female trees. Each male tree can pollinate 12 – 50 female trees. A single male tree can pollinate over 500 female trees. Nuts form into small clusters called bunches. Each bunch contains 30 -50 nuts.
Where Do Pistachios Come From?
The United States produces about 80% of the world’s pistachio crop. Turkey is the second largest producer, followed by Iran, China, and then Syria. The biggest producer of pistachios is Iran, where it accounts for almost half of global production.
However, in recent times, Iran has suffered from drought and sanctions, resulting in lower yields and less availability of pistachios. This has caused prices to rise dramatically.
Why Pistachios Are Sold in Their Shells
The reason why you buy pistachios in their shells is that it makes you feel like you are doing something special. You are eating food that requires effort and skill. This is what makes pistachio shelling fun. If you buy pistachios already shelled, you don’t have to do anything extra.
But if you buy them in their shells, you have to take off the husk yourself. And while you’re doing that, you’ll probably think about how much work goes into making pistachios.
What Are Pistachios?
Pistachios are the seed pods of the pistachio tree. They grow in clusters called “pods.” Each pod contains one or two seeds. A single kernel of pistachio usually weighs about 2 grams.
There are many varieties of pistachios, including California, Mexico, Persian, Spanish, Turkey, etc.
The most common variety of pistachio is the California type. This is the variety used to make pistachio ice cream.
Pistachios come in many flavors. Some popular flavors include chocolate, coconut, vanilla, and raspberry.
Pistachio nuts are delicious, nutritious snacks. They contain fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
They are high in magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, iron, selenium, vitamin B6, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and dietary fiber.
Pistachio nuts are rich in antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolic compounds, carotenoids, and phytosterols. These antioxidants help protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Why Are Pistachios So Expensive?
Some nuts are delicious, while others are tasty and healthy. Pistachio is one of the premium-tasting treats that carries a high price. You may be thinking why pistachios are so expensive. There are various reasons why pistachios are so expensive. Here, we’ll gonna find out.
1) Low Production
If you want to grow your own pistachio tree, you might think about planting one now. But don’t do it just because you want some pistachios. You’ll probably end up disappointed. Pistachio trees are notoriously difficult to grow. They require lots of water. And they’re very picky about where they live.
Even when you wait the 15-year period to get the tree producing, there won’t be that many pistachios on every tree. Each individual tree can produce no more than 50 pounds of nuts per year. This isn’t going to help all that great when it comes to overall output and the volume needed.
2) Every Other Year
The pistachio tree takes about six months to mature and requires a lot of space to do so. If you want to plant one today, you are looking at a 10-year wait. However, once the tree starts producing fruit, it produces seeds every other year. These seeds must be planted again, and the cycle continues.
This means that you will need two large crops to alternate growing seasons. One crop will be harvested during the summer, while the next crop will be ready to harvest in the winter. Without these alternating crops, you will not be able to meet the required production for each year.
Although having alternating crops will help growers make more consistent income, it does not increase their overall revenue. In fact, it actually decreases their annual profit because they cannot sell the same amount of product twice per year.
3) Hand Sorting
Pistachios are a time-consuming crop. Each pistachio that’s picked must be hand sorted. This process takes about 30 seconds per shell. Once the shells are opened, it’s possible to see whether the pistachio inside is edible. If it’s not, it’s thrown away.
The farmers will pick out the best-looking nuts and sell those for more money. They’ll combine the less attractive nuts into a mixture called a “nut mix” or crush them into a powdery substance called “powdered nuts.”
These are often used as toppings for ice creams or baked goods. Farmers will try and use all the pistachios they grow, but they may have a different purpose for each one.
4) Hot Summer Or Cool Winter Climate
The pistachio trees are extremely picky about where they want to grow. They prefer a hot summer climate and cold winters. In fact, they don’t like temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 50 degrees at night.
These extreme weather conditions make California a perfect place to grow pistachio trees. Outside of California, most pistachios come from other countries. Of course, this adds to the cost as supplies are very low in the US.
5) Drought Conditions
California is the largest producer of pistachios in the world. This is because it has ideal growing conditions for the nuts. However, the recent drought conditions have been affecting the pistachio crop.
Farmers in California have had to use more water to keep up with the demand. In fact, there are some areas where farmers are having to pump groundwater to keep up with the demands.
Another Reason Why Pistachios Are Expensive
Expensive For Farmers
Not all crops are created equal. Some farmers choose to produce larger quantities of less expensive crops while others prefer to grow smaller amounts of more expensive crops. Regardless of the type of crop a farmer chooses to grow, there are going to always be expenses associated with growing that crop.
When a farmer can lower the costs as much as possible, he or she will have a much better chance of making a profit. The difficult part about pistachios is that the price of the water, land, and labor remains high. There are no options for the farmers to cut down on those costs.
The labor expense for growing pistachio trees is one of the highest among nuts. In fact, it is so expensive that farmers often choose to grow almonds rather than pistachios because they don’t require nearly as much work.
In addition to picking the fruit off the tree, sorting it into different sizes and grades, and packing it for shipment, there is also the matter of hand watering and pruning. These tasks are necessary to keep the pistachio trees healthy and productive.
The taste of pistachios is very unique. They are often compared to almonds. However, they are actually seeds, and there are several different types of pistachios. Some are green while others are brown. There are even white ones. The flavor of pistachios varies depending on where they grow.
Although they are a seed, most people think of pistachios as nuts. This is because pistachios look like small almond-shaped nuts. In fact, they are related to almonds. Almonds are one of the oldest cultivated crops in the world. Pistachios are native to Iran and date back thousands of years.
Because pistachios are such a popular snack, you might find yourself giving them away during the holiday season. You could give them as gifts to family members or friends. Or, you could buy them for yourself. If you want to try something new, you could experiment with recipes that include pistachios.
The most obvious reason why pistachios are so expensive is that they are healthy. Healthy food is almost always more expensive than unhealthy food. And healthy food that also tastes delicious is usually even more expensive. This is because healthy foods tend to have more vitamins and minerals per calorie, which makes them taste better.
Also, they are versatile. Healthy foods are easy to use in recipes. For example, you can eat pistachios straight out of the shell, or mix them into your recipes.
Pistachio Health Benefits
The pistachio nut is one of the oldest cultivated nuts. In fact, it dates back about 5,000 years ago. This small greenish-brown seed contains many nutritional benefits. One cup of pistachios provides approximately 10 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fiber, and 2 milligrams of iron.
These nuts also provide vitamin E, magnesium, copper, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, potassium, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and selenium.
Nutritionists recommend eating pistachios because they help prevent heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. They are high in monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol levels.
They also contain phytosterols and plant sterols that lower cholesterol levels. Phytosterols are similar to hormones produced by humans. They work like hormones to regulate metabolism and keep blood sugar levels steady.
In addition to being a great snack food, pistachios are used in baking, cooking, and even medicine. They make delicious cookies, cakes, pies, and ice cream.
You can use them in salads, soups, dips, and pasta dishes. They are often added to smoothies and yogurt. And they are excellent garnishes for desserts such as cheesecakes.
I hope you have a better understanding of why pistachios are so expensive. The price of pistachio nuts has increased dramatically over the past several years. This increase is due to many factors including a low supply of quality products, high demand for healthy snacks, increased competition among suppliers, unpredictable weather conditions, longer growing seasons, and more efficient harvesting techniques.