Prunes are produced by drying plums. They have a concentrated sweet flavor and a dense sticky consistency. Prunes are often sold pitted and have a long shelf life. Prunes are very fibrous and can help maintain digestive regularity.


Other names: Dried Plum
Translations: Apgriezt, Mulkis, Prună uscată, Orezati, Mận khô, Snoeien, छाँटना, Ameixa, Чернослив, Κλαδεύω, تقليم, 말린 자두, Prořezávat, Memangkas, Pungusan, 修剪, Podar, Prerezávať, Prugna secca, לגזום, Орезати, プルーン, Pruneau, Pflaume, Beskær, Sviske, Podar, Чорнослив, Karsia, Синя слива

Physical Description

Flat, round and wrinkly. Typically dark, though color varies based on variety of plum and method of drying.

Colors: Purple, maroon, red, black

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Sweet, Sour
Mouthfeel: Sweet, Chewey
Food complements: Chicken, Pork, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger
Wine complements: Port, Muscat, Marsala, Desert wines
Beverage complements: Sherry, Green tea
Substitutes: Other dried fruit, Fresh plums

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Prunes are sold either with their pits or already pitted. The form you choose should depend upon your personal preference and recipe needs.

Ideally, you should purchase prunes that are sold in transparent containers so that you can evaluate them for quality. They should be plump, shiny, relatively soft and free of mold. If the packages are opaque, ensure that they are tightly sealed so that the prunes will not have lost any moisture. As with any other dried fruit, try to purchase prunes that are not processed with food preservatives such as sulfites.

Buying: You can buy Prunes at your nearest grocery store or supermarkets. Prunes are also available at your local spice house.

Preparation and Use

If you have prunes that are extremely dry, soaking them in hot water for a few minutes will help to refresh them. If you are planning on cooking the prunes, soaking them in water or juice beforehand will reduce the cooking time.

Conserving and Storing

Prunes should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place where they will keep for several months. Storing them in the refrigerator will extend their freshness, allowing them to keep for about six months. Regardless of where you store them, make sure that when you open the container, you reseal it tightly to prevent the prunes from losing moisture.


Prune juice is made by softening prunes through steaming and then putting them through a pulper to create a watery puree. Prunes and their "juice" contain the natural laxative dihydrophenylisatin (related to isatin). Faster results are obtained by heating the prune juice. Prunes also contain dietary fiber (about 6%, or 0.06 g per gram of prune). Prunes and prune juice are thus common home remedies for constipation. Prunes also have a high antioxidant content. In China, the popular summer drink suanmeitang, made with sour prunes (umeboshi), is sometimes thought to have positive effects on acidity in the body.

History: The process of drying plums to make prunes is thought to have originated thousands of years ago in an area near the Caspian Sea, the same region where the prune-producing European plums originated. They spread throughout Europe with the migration of different cultures and civilizations.

The process of drying plums to produce prunes took hold in California, now the leading producer of prunes worldwide, in the mid-19th century when Louis Pellier planted grafted plum tree cuttings brought back with him from his native France. Among these trees were those belonging to the Agen variety, the type of plum that is extremely well suited to be dried to make prunes.



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