Reasons Pistachios Are So Expensive

Some nuts are far more expensive than others, and pistachios are certainly among the most expensive type of nuts out there. But the reasons why pistachios are so expensive might surprise you. It's far less about the demand for the bright green nuts and more so with the intense and difficult labor growing and harvesting the nuts requires.

Getting pistachio trees to take root and prosper requires a very particular climate and plenty of time. According to Heart of the Desert, pistachio trees require very hot summers and cool winters without freezes. Even then, the trees must survive for up to 20 years under the right conditions to be able to yield the first crop. With increasingly drastic temperature changes and significant weather events due to climate change, that's becoming a more difficult task to accomplish.

Even then, only female trees will produce nuts while male trees are simply planted to continue to cycle as pollinators. To add just one more hurdle for pistachio farmers, crops must be rotated since they only produce a yield during alternating years (via The Cold Wire).

Pistachios are expensive for a few reasons

According to The Cold Wire, pistachios are also expensive because of the costs associated with farming them. Apart from the obvious needs (such as enough water and fertile land in the right climate for the trees to grow) pistachios require a great amount of hands-on labor to harvest. Of course, labor is also a costly expense for pistachio farmers. That's also in part due to the need for pistachios to be sorted by hand, so each nut can go to its best use.

The next time you buy a bag of pistachios — be they shelled, dyed red, salted and roasted, or raw — know that there was a great deal of time, effort, and money put into producing that small bag. Though pistachios can be an expensive ingredient, their price tag is well-earned.