Pistachios vary significantly in size and quality across different regions. Understanding pistachio sizes is important as it impacts flavor, texture, and even the uses of these nuts in culinary applications. This guide explores the meaning of different pistachio sizes, focusing on major producing countries such as the United States, Iran, Turkey, and Spain.

Turkey, following the USA, is the second-largest producer of pistachios in the world. Turkish pistachios are notably smaller in size (for example, 32/34oz), yet their kernels are highly favored. They are particularly popular in the production of sweets, including traditional desserts like Baklava, where their distinctive taste and texture are essential.

Pistachio Sizes

Pistachio sizes are determined by the number of nuts per ounce. This measurement provides a standard for assessing the size of the nuts. Larger numbers indicate smaller nuts, and vice versa. For instance, a pistachio with a size of 21/25 would have between 21 and 25 nuts per ounce,
indicating a larger nut size than a 32/34 size, which would have between 32 and 34 nuts per ounce.

Pistachio sizes – Differencies in Pistachios from USA, Iran, Turkey and Spain

Regional Differences in Pistachio Sizes

American Pistachios

In the United States, particularly in California where the majority of American pistachios are grown, common sizes include 21/25 and 18/22 in-shell. These sizes represent some of the larger pistachios on the market, often prized for their substantial presence and satisfying crack when opened. Larger pistachios are more popular for snacking because they are easier to open and contain more nut meat.

Pistachios from Iran

Iran, another major producer, offers pistachios in various sizes, including 18/20, 20/22, and even up to 32/34. The range of sizes from Iran reflects the different uses of pistachios in cooking, baking, and snacking. Smaller sizes such as 32/34 are often preferred for decorative purposes or in recipes where a more refined presentation is desired. Meanwhile, larger sizes are favored for their fuller flavor and more substantial texture. Specifically, the 21/25 size is typically found in supermarket snacks, offering a balance between size and flavor that appeals to everyday consumers.

Turkish Pistachios

Turkey, particularly the Antep region, plays a significant role in pistachio cultivation as well. Turkish pistachios are renowned for their unique sizes and flavors which make them ideal for both domestic use and international markets. Typically smaller in size compared to their Iranian and American counterparts, Turkish pistachios often range around 28/30 to 32/34 nuts per ounce. These smaller sizes are particularly sought after in the confectionery industry for their intense flavor, making them a favorite choice for desserts like baklava and other sweet pastries.

Spanish Pistachios

Spain, while a newer and smaller participant in the pistachio market compared to the United States and Iran, shows high potential and offers pistachios in sizes similar to these leading producers. Spanish pistachios are known for their unique flavor profile, which can be attributed to the country’s distinct climate and soil conditions. The availability of various nut sizes allows for a range of culinary applications, from direct consumption as a snack to incorporation into sophisticated dishes and desserts.

Remember: Size does matter

The size of a pistachio affects not only its appearance but also its culinary uses, flavor, and the consumer’s experience. Larger pistachios, which are easier to open and offer more nut meat, are generally preferred for direct consumption. Conversely, smaller pistachios are more challenging to open but are valued for their aesthetic appeal in garnishing and their ability to distribute more evenly in dishes such as salads, baked goods, and confections.

Furthermore, the size of the product can indicate its quality and origin. Certain sizes are more common in specific regions, which enables consumers to make informed choices based on their preferences for flavor, texture, and intended use.