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    Prunes (dried plums) nutrition facts

    Prunes are delicious dried fruits obtained after drying ripe plums. Not all the plum varieties can be dried to get good quality prunes. Certain high sugar content, freestone European cultivars such as "prune d'Aegen, and d'Ente are quite popular in the USA for plum production.

    Botanically, plums belong to the "drupe" family (Rosaceae) of fruits, characterized by the hard pit (stone) surrounded by firm/soft pulp.

    Scientific name: Prunus domestica. L

    Pitted prunes

    plum tree
    Plums!. Note for white bloom on the fruit surface.
    Photo courtesy: brankomaster

    Sacramento valley in California produces most of the exported dried plums in the United Sates. Improved "French" cultivar is the most preferred type grown in the California valleys. These prune plums characterized by their uniform maturity, high sugar content, high heat tolerance and their ability to ripen fully on the tree without fermenting.

    Plum is medium-sized deciduous tree, growing about 3-4 meters tall under cultivated orchards. It bears mauve white flowers that develop subsequently into deep purple color fruits dusted with gray bloom by August. Today, most of the work related to obtaining prunes done under mechanical assistance from harvesting to drying. Roughly, three pounds of fresh plums yield one pound of prunes. Being a "drupe" family fruit, dried plum features a single, hard, inedible pit.

    Health benefits of dried plums

    • Like in other dried fruits such as dates, raisins, and goji berry, dried plums too are concentrated sources of antioxidants, energy, minerals, vitamins, and fiber.

    • Prunes are an excellent source of soluble dietary fiber, sorbitol, and isatin. These compounds have been known to help smooth digestion and offer comfort from constipation problems. In traditional medicine, soaked prunes consumed as a laxative.

    • They also provide about 50% RDA levels of vitamin-K per 100 g. Vitamin-K is essential for the smooth functioning of many clotting factors in the blood. It is also required for the bone metabolism. Also, vitamin-K help limit neuronal damage in the Alzheimer's disease patients.

    • Dried plums are an excellent source of vitamin-A and β-carotene. 100 grams carry 789 IU of vitamin-A. Vitamin-A is essential for good eyesight. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin. Consumption of natural fruits rich in vitamin-A has found to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.

    • Likewise as in fresh plums, prunes too carry health promoting flavonoid poly phenolic antioxidants such as lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin in significant amounts. These compounds help act as scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes. Zeaxanthin, an important dietary carotenoid selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it is thought to provide antioxidant and protective UV light-filtering functions.

    • Prunes are a concentrated source of in minerals like potassium, copper, manganese, and iron. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.

    • Further, they are good sources of B-complex groups of vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins act as cofactors to help body metabolize carbohydrates, protein and fats.

    See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

    Prunes nutrition chart (Prunus domestica), values per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
    Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
    Energy 240 Kcal 12%
    Carbohydrates 38.13 g 29%
    Protein 2.18 g 1.2%
    Total Fat 0.38 g 2%
    Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
    Dietary Fiber 7.1 g 19%
    Folates 4 μg 1%
    Niacin 1.882 mg 12%
    Pantothenic acid 0.442 mg 8%
    Pyridoxine 0.205 mg 16%
    Riboflavin 0.026 mg 16%
    Thiamin 0.051 mg 4%
    Vitamin A 781 IU 26%
    Vitamin C 0.6 mg 1%
    Vitamin E 0.43 mg 3%
    Vitamin K 59.5 μg 50%
    Sodium 2 mg 0%
    Potassium 732 mg 19%
    Calcium 43 mg 4%
    Copper 0.281 mg 31%
    Iron 0.93 mg 9%
    Magnesium 41 mg 10%
    Manganese 0.299 mg 13%
    Phosphorus 69 mg 10%
    Selenium 0.3 μg <1%
    Zinc 0.44 mg 4%
    Carotene-? 394 μg --
    Crypto-xanthin-? 93 μg --
    Lutein-zeaxanthin 148 μg --

    Selection and storage

    In the supermarkets, prunes can be available around the year in packs, and boxes/bins. Look for the authentic produce before purchase. Although bleaching using sulfur gas is not in practice now, avoid any sulfur gas treated prunes. As a general modern industry practice, potassium sorbate solution may be used to inhibit yeast and mold on prunes. Buy uniform, good (ink black) color, fairly firm to a slightly soft stage of ripeness prunes.

    Dry plums can be stored at room temperature for few days. Inside the refrigerator, they can last for a couple of weeks.

    Preparation and serving method

    Dried plums can be eaten as is. Immersing them in hot water makes them soft and plump as in raisins.

    Here are some serving tips:

    prune concentrate
    Pureed prunes
    • Prunes can be enjoyed as is; as delicious snacks.

    • They can be pureed and preserved for several months inside the refrigerator. They are being used in the preparation of pie, desserts, jams, and jellies.

    • Add them in cooking dishes, poultry, lamb, and rice pilaf.

    • Prunes also fond of in the confectionary. They can be added to muffins, bread, trifle, cakes, cookies, etc.

    Safety profile

    Prunes can be safely consumed by all, including children and pregnant women. People allergic to potassium sorbate may want to avoid them in food.

    Plums carry oxalic acid, a naturally-occurring substance found in some fruits and vegetables, which may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people. Therefore, individuals with known oxalate urinary tract stones are encouraged to avoid eating plums. Adequate intake of water is advised to maintain normal urine output even if these persons want to eat them. (Medical disclaimer).

    <<-You may also like to read- Plums nutrition facts and health benefits

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    Further reading and Resources:

    1. USDA National Nutrient Database.

    2. Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.

    3. California dried plums

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