October 23, 2018
Dried Plums (Prunes): Sweet Fiber and Nutrition

Dried Plums (Prunes): Sweet Fiber and Nutrition

by Berkeley Wellness

The dried fruit we know as a prune has recently had its name officially changed to dried plum. Though there are several types of fresh plums that are sold in their dried form, far and away the commonest is the prune plum. The prune plum is a variety of plum with a higher sugar content, firmer flesh, smaller pit, and a higher acid content, all characteristics that make for a meatier, more flavorful dried fruit.

In the transition from fresh to dried, the plums are first allowed to mature on the tree until they are fully ripe and have developed their maximum sweetness. They are then mechanically harvested and dried for 15 to 24 hours under closely monitored conditions of temperature and humidity. Because the plums lose so much water, about 3 to 4 pounds of the fresh fruit are needed to produce 1 pound of dried plums. After drying, the dried plums are sorted by size and then stored to await packing, at which point they are moisturized by hot water.

The most common variety of plum used for drying in this country is California French, also known as d’Agen. The variety is a descendant of the first prune plums brought to the United States in the 1850s from France, where the town of Agen is known for its delicious dried plums.

Prunes: nutrition

As with other dried fruits, the drying process concentrates the nutrients in dried plums. First and foremost, dried plums are a high-fiber food, and over half of this fiber is of the soluble fiber, the type that studies have linked to lowered levels of blood cholesterol.

In addition to their well-documented high-fiber attributes, dried plums are an excellent source of carbohydrates,iron, and potassium.

If you’re not fond of whole dried prune plums, an excellent substitute is prune juice, which retains a far higher proportion of the whole fruit’s nutrients than the juice made from most other fruits. But prune juice is also relatively high in calories—182 calories per cup. To avoid excess calories, don’t purchase brands with added sugar. Prune juice is sweet enough on its own.

Prunes (dried plums) are at the top of the list of foods that have been studied for their antioxidant potential.

For a full listing of nutrients, see Dried Plums (Prunes) in the National Nutrient Database.

Types of Dried Plums (Prunes)

Discover the many types of plums that can be dried to make prunes, prune juice, and prune butter.

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