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Celebrating: Prune Day!

June 13, 2023

When you hear the word prune, what comes to mind? An old-fashioned dried fruit known for and used primarily as a natural laxative? What your fingers and toes do when you soak too long in the bath? Your great great great great great aunt? 

We think prunes don’t receive enough love, and are often oversadowed by more flashy dried fruits. If you associate prunes with a sour or tangy flavour, and on the more firm side texture wise, you probably haven’t tried our sweet, soft, and richly flavoured prunes. 

Since June 15th is Prune Day, we think it’s time to take a closer look at prunes! 

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A prune is a dried plum, but not all varieties can be dried into prunes. Most prunes are dried from freestone varieties (the pit is easy to remove) of plums, whereas most grown for fresh consumption are clingstone (the pit is more difficult to remove). The great majority of commercially grown plum varieties intended to make prunes are self-fertile and do not need separate pollinator trees.

In 2001, plum growers in the USA were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to call prunes “dried plums”. Due to a perception that prunes relieve constipation (perceived as derogatory), some distributors stopped using the word “prune” on packaging labels in favour of “dried plums”. Who knew?!

Health Benefits

In moderation, prunes support good gut health, strong bones and a healthy heart. Prunes contain polyphenols, antioxidant compounds that may reduce inflammation in your body. Polyphenols are thought to support healthy functioning in many areas — your digestion, nervous system, heart, blood vessels, and more. 

Prunes are an excellent source of Vitamin K which plays an important role in the formation of osteocalcin, a protein that helps calcium bind to bones, and a source of manganese which contributes to the maintenance of normal bone. Research suggests four to six prunes per day may help prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. 

Prunes include boron (which may increase the bioavailability of Vitamin D), potassium, copper, and Vitamin B6 which all may support healthy bones. Please see the nutritional chart on our website for further information. Due to their natural laxative qualities, we suggest starting off with 1 or 2 to see how your body reacts and to avoid any stomach or gut upset.

Culinary Uses

Prunes provide natural sweetness and add moisture and richness to baked goods such as muffins or breads. Reduce butter, refined sugar and oils by using puréed prunes. Or, try them in desserts like puddings or compotes, or even in nut milk to add sweetness instead of dates. You can easily substitute prunes for dates in almost any recipe. They’re also delightful when used in savory dishes like stews and tagines.

If you have a favourite way you enjoy prunes, please share it with us in the comments! Help inspire more people to give prunes the chance they deserve.

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