According to The Cold Wire, pistachios are also expensive because of the costs associated with growing them. In addition to the obvious needs (such as enough water and fertile land in the right climate for trees to grow), pistachios require a great deal of labor to harvest them. As for the price, pistachios in shells seem more affordable. However, since they do not undergo the peeling process, it is normal that they are less expensive than unshelled pistachios.
Part of the cost of shelled pistachio is spent on peeling. Pistachios without shells can be very expensive because they don't have a shell. Therefore, shelled pistachios are better, since you only pay for the kernels themselves. In addition, they are ready to eat and you don't need to remove the shell from them, since it can also be difficult to remove them.
Pistachio is a difficult plant to grow, and one of the reasons is that it has a very long growth period. There is an immediate difference in flavor between pistachios that were sold in shell and those that come peeled. Pistachios in shells taste much, much better. That's all there is to do.
I've never seen anyone argue otherwise, and the only thing people mention when they speak in favor of shelled pistachios is that they're easier to eat. The two cups of shelled pistachios in the eight-ounce bag turned out to be exactly one cup of ready-to-eat nuts. The reason pistachios are so expensive now is that they have long growth cycles and are a labor intensive crop. As a result, Turkish pistachios are one of the most expensive pistachios you can find on the market.
Of course, these costs have to be covered somewhere in order for the farmer to stay in business, which is why pistachio prices continue to rise. In small quantities, it doesn't matter how much it costs or if you buy pistachios with shells instead of pistachios without shells. But if you look at the prices charged by retailers, shelled pistachios tend to be more than twice as expensive per ounce as those with shells, so all you save is the trouble of extracting them and paying a substantial fee for that luxury. While ready-to-eat pistachio kernels are handy, part of the fun of eating pistachios is opening the pistachio shells.
With or without a shell, in other words, in terms of price, there's no difference when it comes to what ends up in your belly. Some of the specific places in the world with ideal climate conditions for growing healthy pistachios are California, Iran, Syria, China and Turkey. While pistachios in shells are cheaper, you also buy peels that add weight and give you fewer grains. Farmers will try to use all the pistachios they produce, but they may have different uses for each one.
There is no scenario in which the cost savings of a bag of pistachios in shell justify an additional indirect labor expense. But the reason why is this not the case for pistachios? Between 70 and 90 percent of pistachios develop a natural indentation in their shells during the cultivation process, says Louise Ferguson, a pistachio expert at the University of California, Davis, co-author of the Pistachio Production Manual. Research suggests that pistachios may help reduce high blood pressure and promote the development of beneficial gut microbes.