What are Prunes? Where did they originate? and how did they come to be, read all about this delicious and nutritious dried fruit from Sundari Giri.
Sundari is a passionate food blogger and blogs at Ladles and Spoons, she is a voracious recipe collector.
Prunes are nothing but dried plums similar to raisins that are made from dried grapes.
History of Prunes
Let us get back to the history of these amazing dried plums or prunes. It is believed that the history of prunes originated in the year 1856 – a French man Louis Pellier who went to California to strike gold, planted the first plum tree. Within decades prune orchards covered thousands of acres in California. The plum plants from southwest France became widely grown in California. The plums were dried with the seeds without fermenting them. Dried plum tree development caught on a big way.
An association called DFA (Dried Fruit Association of California) was formed in 1908 in California to control quality, sales, exports. California is today the largest producer of prunes in the world.
How do they Look
Prunes appear black in colour and look wrinkled because they are dried. Unlike other fruits prunes are processed for fermentation but are sun dried i.e. allowed to dry the natural way. But do not go by the look and appearance of the fruit because this unassuming fruit is very high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals and well known and sought after for its effect on strengthening the bones.
The dried plums are hydrated again in order to prepare the juice. They are first cooked in boiling water to get a good extract of juice. Prune juice is different from other fruit juices as it is an extract of the dried plum fruit and not squeezed from fresh fruits.
Commercial production of prune juice begun in 1934 and California has been the leading producer since then.
A common misconception about prune juice is that it is only used to relieve constipation. It in fact has numerous health benefits.
Prune juice is thick and sweet to taste. However, inspite of the high health benefits prunes and prune juice have, it is advised by nutritionists to consume both in moderation, as prunes are pretty high in sugar.
Prune juice is often recommended by doctors to treat constipation in babies and children. However, care has to be taken to have the juice as advised since too much juice can cause diarrhoea as well.
Prune juice is readily available in the market, but can be easily made at home too, if you have dried plums or prunes at hand.
Benefits of Prune Juice
The benefits of prune juice far outweigh the side effects and some of the benefits are that, it is rich in antioxidants, good for the heart, helps relieve constipation and protection from arthritic problems.
Nutritionists have cited the benefits of prune juice as below:
- Good for the eyes and improves vision as prunes are rich in vitamin A.
- High on antioxidants as prunes contain manganese and iron.
- Good for the heart as prunes also are high in potassium which aids in heart functions.
- High in fibre and hence an effective laxative to help regular bowel movement and relieve constipation.
Caution: Since prunes contain high sorbitol and fiber it is not advisable to take more quantities of prunes/prune juice.
- Good for bone strength and hence recommended for people suffering from arthritis. Studies have proven that prunes help in preventing osteoporosis.
- Cure for iron deficiencies as prunes are rich in iron too.
- The vitamins and minerals present in prunes help in overall good health when consumed in recommended portions.
The final word on Prune Juice
- Prune juice is extracted from the plum fruit that is naturally dried without using any process of fermentation.
- Prune juice contains over 20 nutrients in just one serving.
- It is best to buy organic prune juice with no sugar added or to make your own.
- Prune juice can be used as a mild laxative.
- Prune juice has been proven to protect your liver, heart and eyes from disease with a unique combination of antioxidants, minerals and fiber.
To make prune juice at home
- Soak 5 to 6 pieces of prunes in hot water for few hours.
- Blend the soaked prunes along with the water until smooth.
- Add around 500 ml water and store in a glass jar.
- The juice will be thick and can be refrigerated for a week.
If serving as a drink the prune juice can be further diluted with water and sweetened by adding any sweetener or any fruit crush and chilled.
So friends, we hope that you have received some new and useful information on Prunes and Prune juice.
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About the author: Albeit a late bloomer on the blogging scene, Sundari is a food enthusiast and blogger at Ladles and Spoons, she loves to try out as well as cook a myriad variety of dishes. Cooking an own improvised version of regular dishes is one of her passions.