Originally regarded as the "king fruit " in Persia, pistachios have been specifically cultivated in this region since ancient times. As a delicacy from the Middle East, Pistachios rapidly widespread throughout the Mediterranean trading route to Europe. To date Iran, in particular the region around the cities of Kerman and Rafsanjan, ranks as the world's largest growing region.
Harvesting regularly occurs mid to late September, either by hand or by machine. Aflatoxin, a metabolic product of molds that forms in connection with dirt and moisture over a period of time, represents the main harvest risk. In order to counteract the Aflatoxin-progress, the course of harvesting requires special care as well as the direct further processing of the harvest.
Further processing of the harvested pistachio fruit involves as a fist step the separation of the pulp and as a second step the sorting of the goods by open or closed as well as size-wise.
Iran, above all, is specialized in production and export of green pistachios. The distinctiveness of the green pistachio kernel lies within it’s early harvest: one month before the regular harvest, the unripe fruit is picked from the tree, so that the shells are not yet open and the color of the kernel is still deep green. The pistachios are sorted according to the discoloration of the pistachio kernels, whereby the quality is ranked from green-yellow to deep-green. The breakage proportion of the pistachio kernels, in addition to color, represents another quality feature. Green pistachio kernels are further processed in confectionery production and meat processing as well as in gastronomy.
Pistachios are considered as nutrient suppliers of polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin B and cytoprotective polyphenols.