Who doesn’t enjoy pistachios? We all do, right! These yummy colorful nuts are tasty on their own and go well with desserts, salads, pasta and also baking goods.
Basically, there are endless ways to munch on them and experience their amazing flavor. However, there is one thing about pistachio which is not flattering at all. Any guesses?
The answer is its whopping price. It is named among the top 10 most expensive nuts in the world. While not-so-humble macadamia nut is ranked as the most expensive nut on the earth with a price of $25 per pound, second and third position is secured by almond and pine nut respectively.
Pistachio has also marked its position on this list and we’re going to get to the bottom of this.
A refresher on pistachios
Technically, pistachio is not a nut, but a seed which has been used as a snack for thousands of years. The pistachio tree was originally found in Western Asia, and it has been enjoyed by humans since around 7,000 BC.
It was much later that these beautiful nuts and trees reached the United States during the 1800s.
But today, pistachio cultivation can be seen in areas of Arizona, California and Mexico. These little delicious seeds come in a beautiful shade of colors like yellow and green, with a purplish skin sometimes.
Main reasons pistachios are so expensive
Growing and farming pistachios is a very challenging endeavor, and it’s no wonder the price is so high. You may be uoset when looking at the price tag in stores, but believe us there’s a very reasonable explication for it.
Now let’s talk about the main reasons for the high price tag.
1.Pistachios need special weather conditions
The first reason why pistachios rank among the most expensive nuts is that they require special weather conditions to grow.
Although the pistachio trees themselves are non-fussy and can be planted in moderate quality soil, they still have their own weather and growth requirements.
First of all, they need an excellent drainage system. This means either hillsides or very porous soil, not compact moist soil.
Second, they thrive in cooler weather. The ideal temperature to grow them is considered to be below 45F where they need to spend at least 1000 hours in an entire year.
Not just that, pistachio trees love hot summers equally as they love winters. They require adequate hours in low humidity and crisp sunlight to ripen their kernels well.
As you can see, these weather conditions are very specific and because of that, they can only be grown in specific places of the world.
California is the biggest producer of pistachios in the world, while Iran is the second. Syria, China and Turkey are also named among the mass producers.
To make things more complicated, this kind of area – Zone 9a and b in America – is also shared with other nut trees. This makes the land very valuable as it could be used to farm other crops, not just pistachios.
2. Pistachios take a long tome to bear fruit
The most obvious reason behind the high price of pistachios is, it is very difficult to cultivate.
A pistachio tree takes about five years from the day it is planted before it starts producing fruits. Not only that, it’s about 15-20 years later when the tree reaches mass production.
Moreover, tasty pistachios always come from a female tree which produces nearly 40-42 pounds of seeds in each harvest. Male trees make just 15% or even less of the total trees in the entire pistachio orchid.
Male pistachio trees are mostly there for pollination, since they produce such small crops.
Similar to any other crop, the production of nuts or seeds entirely depends on the weather conditions. If these are not favorable then the crop will not thrive and we might end up getting nothing at the time of harvest.
Further, the female trees take enough time to replenish themselves and gain the necessary nutrition before bearing the next fruits, so we can only expect them to produce seeds every other year.
All in all, this sounds like the pistachio is a very slow crop. Farmers can’t afford a year of not having a harvest, or not having as much of harvest as last year, so the pistachios are priced higher to compensate.
3. Pistachios require skilled labor
Talking about the United States, pistachios are processed and harvested using machines. However, to run those machines, skilled labor is required.
Moreover, the pistachios are hand-sorted to make sure they are of the highest quality when packed. This is the last and most expensive quality-control step of the production.
4. There’s a high demand for pistachios
Finally, the last reason is the high demand of these amazing nuts. Pistachio is the most used nut along with almond and cashew. It is widely used on a day to day basis in salads, desserts, cakes, cupcakes, ice-creams and whatnot.
Moreover, it is extremely nutritious as well, which makes it a popular choice for the health-conscious people. They go amazing in pesto and make a great snack on their own. Hence, loved by all.
Pistachios are one of the tastiest and the most nutritious nuts in the world. The yellow and green colored seeds are very versatile, they can be used in endless ways.
However, the growing and harvesting of these nuts is a very special, time-consuming and labour-intensive process due to which their price is a bit high.
But, after knowing how difficult it is to produce them, the price is totally justified. Pistachios are worth spending our money because of their amazing crunch and flavor, and all the hard work that goes into them.
That’s about it. We know that we’ve made you crave for these satisfying nuts. Go and grab yours before you start drooling !
And if you’ve got any other food curiosities be sure to check the related articles below, we’re always adding more food facts to make your life that much easier.