Turkish Pistachio Production Report
Turkey is known as the third-largest country for pistachio production after Iran and the United States of America. Turkey on average, produces 13% of world pistachio production. Because of the suitable climate in Anatolia, most of the Turkish pistachio trees grow in this region. However, various types of pistachio trees are found in different parts of the country, such as the Mediterranean, Aegean coastal lines. Almost 56 provinces in Turkey produce pistachios. There are only five popular provinces as the main Turkish pistachio suppliers, namely, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Adiyaman, Kahramanmaras, and Siirt.
Generally, pistachios are gathered in the late summer months and can be consumed all year round.
Gaziantep, the best Turkish pistachio supplier
Gaziantep, also called Antep, is the capital city of Gaziantep province in the southeastern part of Turkey. This city is well-known as the pistachio heaven of Turkey and one of the best Turkish pistachio suppliers. In 2018, the number of pistachio trees in this city was reported to be more than 22 million trees, with almost 18 million crop trees and almost 5 million young and new trees. Gaziantep and Sanliurfa are the leading areas in Turkey that are responsible for more than half of the pistachio production of this country. Turkey has the record amount of around 15 thousand tons of net pistachio exports in 2018/19.
The Antep pistachios have unique taste. With the help of price corrections, it seem that this type of pistachios start to improve the acceptance in world markets, especially for ingredient markets, which will be led by record pistachio supplies worldwide.
Different varieties of Turkish pistachios
Most of the Turkey pistachios are reddish, known as Kirmizi in Turkish. They have average size and reddish color. The second most cultivated Turkish pistachios are known as Uzun, with an average size, long and clear green color. The other well-known variety of Turkish pistachio is Abiad miwahi, which is a high-quality pistachio with white color and an average size.
Commonly, pistachios with longer kernels are mostly preferred because of their colors. On the other hand, round pistachios are favored due to their larger size. This type of pistachio is mostly found in Siirt. However, most of the pistachio production in Turkey is Kirmizi and Uzun, which don’t have that much demand in the international market because of lower split rates and kernel yields.
what factors show the quality of Turkish pistachio?
The quality of Turkish pistachio is directly related to its size. For example, if every 100 grams of pistachios contain 90 or fewer nuts, this pistachio is considered as high-quality pistachio. 90 to 100 nuts per 100 grams are second quality pistachios. 100-120 nuts are third quality, and more than 120 nuts are fourth quality.
Based on this factor, Siirt pistachios are known as the first quality pistachios because almost 75 pieces of this nut are equal to 100 grams. Ohadi, Halebi, and Kirmizi are also high-quality, and Uzun, with 96 pieces in 100 grams, is considered as second quality.
Mawardi kernels are among the most popular pistachios in Turkish market that come in roasted, salted, in-shell, and shelled form. However, something that makes Turkish pistachios different from others is the shell color, which is darker than other pistachios. That’s because pistachios are dried with hulls to preserve the quality for longer shelf life. If the pistachios were hulled right after harvesting, the shell color wouldn’t be dark and it would have a better look. However, to improve the export of pistachios in the following years, they have a plan to hull the pistachios before they are dried so they will look fresher.
Baklava is a well-known dessert in Turkey that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. This delicious sweet dessert can be found all around Turkey though almost 90 percent of baklava production factories are located in Gaziantep. Apart from pistachio production, Gaziantep baklava is so popular because pistachio is the main ingredient. Pistachio baklava has countless fans throughout the world, and Gaziantep pistachio baklava is unique baklava in the whole country. It is one of the most popular products and souvenirs in Turkey.
The difference between Gaziantep pistachio baklava and other baklavas in Turkey is in their fillings. Cinnamon and rosewater are the main ingredients in other types of baklava, but chefs in Gaziantep don’t use these ingredients in their recipe. Crushed pistachio, butter, and sugar syrup are the main ingredients in this famous dessert.
Turkish pistachio shells as renewable energy
Turkish pistachios don’t have any leftovers because recently Gaziantep metropolitan municipality and a French environmental engineering firm have come together to make use of pistachio shells. The idea is to use these shells as a source of renewable energy in the province. Since the amount of heat that foods produce is extremely high, the large amount of pistachio shell leftovers can become a great source of renewable energy for heating and cooling systems in this area. The Gaziantep municipality wants to make this city the first eco-city in Turkey. However, this process may take longer than the theory.
The pistachio trees are native to western Asia and Asia minor, and Turkey is one of the main pistachio suppliers in this area. However, due to climate change in different years, Turkish pistachio production has not always been the same. For example, in 2017, the pistachio production in Turkey decreased by 50 percent compared to the previous year. This was because of the rainfall increase in spring. On the other hand, pistachio production areas increased by about 25 percent, and new bearing trees were grown. It seem these changes may have a positive impact on Turkish pistachio production in the following years.
In Turkey, most of the pistachio crop is consumed domestically. Pistachio is mostly consumed as a snack (50%) or in confectionery, such as baklava or chocolate products. As for exports, 90% are kernel pistachios and 10% pistachio in-shell.