Prune facts for kids

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Rosales - Dried Prunus domestica d
Prunes
Prunus Graf-Althanns-Reneklode
Raw, fresh plums that have not been dried into prunes
Dried plums (prunes), uncooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,006 kJ (240 kcal)
Carbohydrates 63.88 g
- Sugars 38.13 g
- Dietary fiber 7.1 g
Fat 0.38 g
Protein 2.18 g
Water 31 g
Vitamin A equiv. 39 μg (4%)
- beta-carotene 394 μg (4%)
- lutein and zeaxanthin 148 μg
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.051 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.186 mg (12%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 1.882 mg (13%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.422 mg (8%)
Vitamin B6 0.205 mg (16%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 4 μg (1%)
Vitamin C 0.6 mg (1%)
Vitamin E 0.43 mg (3%)
Vitamin K 59.5 μg (57%)
Calcium 43 mg (4%)
Iron 0.93 mg (7%)
Magnesium 41 mg (11%)
Manganese 0.299 mg (15%)
Phosphorus 69 mg (10%)
Potassium 732 mg (16%)
Sodium 2 mg (0%)
Zinc 0.44 mg (4%)
Link to USDA Database entry
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

A prune is a dried plum of any cultivar, mostly the European plum (Prunus domestica). Use of the term "prune" for fresh plums is obsolete except when applied to varieties (of plum) grown for drying.

Most prunes are freestone cultivars (the pit is easy to remove), whereas most plums grown for fresh consumption are clingstone (the pit is more difficult to remove).

Prunes are 64% carbohydrates including dietary fiber, 2% protein, a rich source of vitamin K, and a moderate source of B vitamins and dietary minerals. The sorbitol content of dietary fiber likely provides the laxative effect associated with consuming prunes. Contrary to the name, boiled plums or prunes are not used to make sugar plums.

Production

More than 1,000 plum cultivars are grown for drying. The main cultivar grown in the United States is the 'Improved French' prune. Other varieties include 'Sutter', 'Tulare Giant', 'Moyer', 'Imperial', 'Italian', and greengages. Fresh prunes reach the market earlier than fresh plums and are usually smaller in size.

Name change

In 2001, plum growers in the United States were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to call prunes "dried plums". Due to a perception that prunes relieve constipation (perceived as derogatory), some distributors stopped using the word "prune" on packaging labels in favor of "dried plums".

Health effects

Prunes contain dietary fiber (about 7% of weight; table) which may provide laxative effects. Their sorbitol content may also be responsible, a conclusion reached in a 2012 review by the European Food Safety Authority. The report also demonstrated that prunes effectively contribute to the maintenance of normal bowel function in the general population if consumed in quantities of at least 100 grams (3.5 oz) per day.

Nutrition

Prunes are 31% water, 64% carbohydrates, including 7% dietary fiber, 2% protein, and less than 1% fat (table). Prunes are a rich source of vitamin K (57% of the Daily Value, DV) and a moderate source of several B vitamins and dietary minerals (10-16% DV; table).

Phytochemicals

Prunes and prune juice contain phytochemicals, including phenolic compounds (mainly as neochlorogenic acids and chlorogenic acids) and sorbitol.

Uses

Chocolate-coated Dried Plums
Russian prunes in chocolate with an almond in the middle

Prunes are used in preparing both sweet and savory dishes.

Contrary to the name, boiled plums or prunes are not used to make sugar plums, which instead may be nuts, seeds, or spices coated with hard sugar, also called comfits.


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