Comprehensive Guide on Kal (Unripe, Early Picked, Boza) Pistachios

Ratinkhosh R&D Team

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Pistachios are one of the oldest nut trees around the world. Humans have consumed these delicious nuts for almost 9,000 years and they are one of the two nuts mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 43:11).

Pistachios are provided in many different shapes based on its application, desired taste and color, and size. Each product has its own harvest time and producing methods which gives them various quality, taste and prices. Such as naturally open pistachios, mechanically opened pistachios, Kal (Boza) pistachios, etc.

Kal pistachios are one of the high-quality products of pistachio, which is pure, elegant green and can be used in desserts and food decorations.

Unripe (Kal) pistachios have different names in every region, it might get a little confusing. Here are the different names of unripe pistachios:
• They call unripe pistachios, “Kal” pistachios mostly in Iran and middle east regions.
• In Turkey and Saudi Arabia, they are called “Boza.”
• In other regions they are known as Unripe, green and early picked pistachios.

In this article, I am going to tell you more about this wonderful Kal Pistachios.

What do we have here?

  1. History of Pistachios
  2. Pistachio cultivars
  3. Pistachio Crop Cycle
  4. Pistachio Grades and Products
  5. Pistachio Kernels
  6. What are Kal (unripe, early picked) Pistachios?
  7. Uses and Markets
  8. Wrapping up


1- History of Pistachios

Pistachios were featured in the famous hanging gardens of Babylon which were built by king Nebuchadnezzar for his spouse Amities. Perhaps a true royal snack, the queen of Sheba admired pistachios. She even demanded that the entire region’s pistachio harvest should be set aside only for herself.

In Iran pistachios are called “smiling nuts” and in china they are called “happy nuts”.

Here are more Fun facts about pistachios.

2- Iranian Pistachio cultivars

These tasty snacks have different varieties and cultivars based on their size and shape such as:

  • Round Type

  • Jumbo

  • Semi Long Type

  • Long type

3- Pistachio Crop Cycle

  • Two days after pollination: fertilization takes place
  • 11 days after pollination: some embryos degenerate due to lack of pollination
  • First ten weeks: considerable shell size growth, but little kernel development
  • 10-12 weeks after pollination: kernel begins to enlarge

4- Pistachio Grades and Products

Pistachios have many grades that divides into different pistachio categories:

  1. In-shell pistachios
    •  Naturally opened pistachios
    • Mechanically opened pistachios
    • Closed shell pistachios
  2. Pistachio kernels
  3. Pistachio Products

5- Pistachio kernels

The pistachio kernels are classified in different types:

  • Whole or natural pistachio kernels
  • Unripe or Kal (unripe, early picked) pistachio kernels
  • Green peeled pistachio kernels
  • Halves and pieces
  • Small meats

So now, let’s talk about Kal (unripe, early picked) pistachio kernels, how they are harvested, what percent of these harvested pistachios is edible.

6- What are kal (unripe, early picked) pistachio kernels?

These types of pistachio kernel are normally produced through harvesting pistachios when they are still kal (unripe, early picked) which means before the pistachios become completely ripe.

These type of pistachios kernels are usually more expensive than other types of pistachio kernels, because of is costly process.

How Kal Pistachios are Harvested?

  1. The producers harvest these pistachios before they become fully ripe, to maintain their fresh aroma and flavor.
  2. First, these unripe pistachios become dried in the sun for few days before being shelled.
  3. After that, they remove the softened seed peel using a specific method. As the color of these kernels is greener, their price is higher too.

Since unripe pistachio crops have a better green hue, farmers harvest half-ripened and fresh crops and then once the shell has been removed, the nut inside is covered by a thin skin. The skin is edible, but when you use pistachios in recipes, often the skin is removed for its green color and better appearances.

Kal (unripe, early picked) pistachio kernels are divided based on the intensity of their green color, they are categorized as:

A  (intense dark green)

B (dark green)

C (bright green)

D (very bright green)

E (Yellow-green)

7- Uses and Markets

Unripe or Kal (unripe, early picked) Pistachio Kernels are very useful in the food industry due to its brilliant green color and delicious taste. This kind of pistachio kernels is very useful in bakeries, decorating foods and desserts, production of pistachio powder, as well as the production of pistachio butter. Green Peeled pistachio kernels is also prepared from the Unripe Pistachio Kernel.

Iranian Green Peeled Pistachio Kernels are perceived as a luxury food ingredient, which is used in many industries such as pastries, ice cream, sausages, chocolate, and ham.

The pistachio green of these kernels is very delightful and can be used for desserts and Turkish baklavas.

Every year, some farmers harvest a percentage of pistachios before they fully ripen and process their kernels to be used in the methods mentioned above. With this method, only 10 kg kernels will be obtained from 100 kg harvested pistachios.

This type of pistachios has a good market in Countries such as Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Swede, china, South Korea, Japan, Dubai, Spain, Canada.

This is why pistachio exporters have put this product on their list.

8- Wrapping Up!

So, in conclusion, we have found out that Kal (unripe, early picked, Boza) pistachios are basically kal and unripe pistachio kernels that are harvested before fully ripen to provide the best taste, color, and quality. They can be very useful in the food industry due to their brilliant green color and yummy taste.

Hope you enjoy this article.

Feel free to share this piece of information with your friends.

Comprehensive Guide on Kal (Unripe, Early Picked, Boza) Pistachios

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