Prunes have a bad reputation. There are widespread beliefs about prunes that are just hard to shake. Prunes are known as the food you give to babies or old people. So, it is not seen as something that any normal person would intentionally eat. The second reason for its bad reputation is that it could make the toilet your temporary place of stay.
When you are at an event where prunes are being promoted, it is not uncommon to hear someone asking if they are distributing toilet papers along with the prunes. This bad reputation has made many miss out on the unique taste of prunes and the many health benefits they could offer the body.
What do prunes taste like? Prunes can be intensely sweet or mildly sweet, depending on which type you have in your possession. The intense sweetness from prunes can be compared to brown sugar or molasses, while the mildly sweet prunes have a taste that is similar to honey.
You can have prunes fresh or dried, dried prunes have a chewy and sticky feel to them. The skin from prunes tends to be bitter while they are still fresh, the skin from dried prunes have already lost their bitterness.
Dehydrated or dried prunes do not have the same flavor as fresh prunes. You could use whichever, depending on how you intend to use them or what you intend to use them in.
Nutritional Benefits of Prunes
As you have prunes, you also have prune juice which is made from dried plums or prunes. It packs the same nutritional package as prunes but with the benefit of hydration.
Prunes are very good for the body, they serve as a good source of fiber, energy, and do not cause blood sugar level hikes. Although they have high sugar content, this only serves to get them dry without fermentation. Let’s get right into how the nutrients and minerals present in prunes can help with improving our overall well-being.
Prunes have a very high fiber which makes them a good source of fiber. Six prunes contain about 4 grams of fiber. They help with digestion by helping to prevent hemorrhoids that can be caused by constipation. In small children and aged people, constipation could be a really serious issue. It is for this reason that prunes are usually served to infants and old people. Prunes can take away constipation because of their high sorbitol content that helps them act as a laxative.
Potassium is an electrolyte in the body that performs a host of vital functions. Prunes are a good source of potassium. Potassium also helps with digestion but is responsible for other vital functions like regulating the heart rhythm, muscle contraction, nerve impulses, and blood pressure.
Prunes are also a very good source of vitamins and phytochemicals (Phenolic compounds). Especially the important ones like vitamins A, K, B6, niacin, and riboflavin. It is also a good source of minerals like copper, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Iron helps with the production of red blood cells in the body and prevents the occurrence of Anemia. Prune juice can be used to treat iron deficiency in the body.
Culinary Uses of Prunes
Prunes can be used in the preparation of some very delicious dishes. There are not a lot of recipes in which you can use prunes, but you could get a lot of use out of them if you are willing.
When you are adding prunes to your food, you don’t need to do any sort of preparatory work and this makes them so easy to use. Although, there is the issue of removing the pit if it has been removed yet.
If you want to reduce the cooking time of prunes, you can soak them in water for about 15 minutes. You can snack on them as you do with dates, or have them chopped into smaller pieces when you want to incorporate them into dishes. Some recipes might require that you use the prunes without chopping them, so all you need to do is take note of what requirements the recipe specifies. Some recipes would require that you puree prunes instead of using them whole or chopping them.
In French cuisine, prunes are usually simmered in wine, before they are then enjoyed with any kind of meat. You can also have them cooked into the sauce if you want. Prunes can be mixed with a lot of varying nuts and enjoyed as a snack.
If you have prunes chopped, they can be added to cereals, smoothies, or be used as a topping for salads just the way you would use raisins or dried cherries. Prunes can go into the filling for pastries, or be used as a filling for chocolates. They can also go into soups and stews, or stuffing for poultry. Pureed prunes can serve as a substitute for jam or mayonnaise in sandwiches.
Where Do Prunes Grow? How to Procure Them?
Prunes are dried plums, they come from European plum trees that are freestone; meaning that the pits are easier to remove. Not all varieties of plums can be dried into prunes, as mentioned above; prunes only get dried without fermenting because of their high sugar content.
There are over 1000 cultivars of plums and many of them are grown for drying. The Improved French prune is the main cultivar that is grown in the United States.
In 2001, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized plum growers to start calling prunes “dried plums” in a bid to help shake off the bad reputation associated with prunes. Even distributors started using dried plums on their packaging instead of prunes.
Getting prunes is an easy task, you can walk into any store or supermarket and find that they have prunes in stock. Just make sure that the prunes you are buying are in a good condition and show no signs of mold.
Do Prunes Taste Like Raisins?
The process through which plums become prunes is similar to how grapes are transformed into raisins. Comparatively, their tastes are somewhat similar and they are both known for being sweet. Still, there are some differences.
Facts You Don’t Know About Prunes
- When storing prunes, you should store them in an airtight container, which is then stored in a cool dark place or the refrigerator.
- Prunes can serve as a substitute for raisins, dried cherries, and dried dates.