January 13, 2014

Prunes and its uses


Fresh Prune fruits on Tree

Dried Prunes

Dried Prunes

Dried Prune

A prune is any of various plum cultivars, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plum, sold as fresh or dried fruit. The dried fruit is also referred to as a dried plum. In general, fresh prunes are freestone cultivars (the pit is easy to remove), whereas most other plums grown for fresh consumption are clingstone (the pit is more difficult to remove).
More than 1,000 cultivars of plums are grown for drying. The main cultivar grown in the U.S. is the Improved French prune. Other varieties include Sutter, Tulare Giant, Moyer, Imperial, Italian, and Greengage. Fresh prunes reach the market earlier than fresh plums and are usually smaller in size.
Due to popular perception (in the U.S.) of prunes being used only for relief of constipation, and being the subject of related joking, many of today's distributors have stopped using the word "prune" on packaging labels. Their preference is to state "dried plums".
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
1,006 kJ (240 kcal)
63.88 g
38.13 g
Dietary fiber
7.1 g
0.38 g
2.18 g
Vitamin A equiv.
39 μg (5%)
394 μg (4%)
lutein and zeaxanthin
148 μg
Thiamine (vit. B1)
0.051 mg (4%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2)
0.186 mg (16%)
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%)
10.1 mg (2%)
Vitamin C
0.6 mg (1%)
Vitamin E
0.43 mg (3%)
Vitamin K
59.5 μg (57%)
43 mg (4%)
0.93 mg (7%)
41 mg (12%)
0.299 mg (14%)
69 mg (10%)
732 mg (16%)
2 mg (0%)
0.44 mg (5%)
4 µg
Prunes are used in cooking both sweet and savory dishes. Stewed prunes, a compote, are a dessert. Prunes are a frequent ingredient in North African tagines. Perhaps the best-known gastronomic prunes are those of Agen (pruneaux d'Agen). Prunes are used frequently in Tzimmes, a traditional Jewish dish in which the principal ingredient is diced or sliced carrots; in the Nordic prune kisel, eaten with rice pudding in the Christmas dinner; and in the traditional Norwegian dessertfruit soup. Prunes have also been included in other holiday dishes, such as stuffing, cake, and to make sugar plums. Prune filled Danish pastries are popular primarily in New York and other parts of the U.S. East Coast. Prune ice cream is popular in the Dominican Republic. Prunes are also used to make juice. In Cornwall, prunes were fermented to form a cider-like drink called "jerkum". Due to the high sugar content of prunes, it was considered particularly potent as compared to contemporary ciders and beers.
Health effects
Prunes and their juice contain mild laxatives including phenolic compounds (mainly as neochlorogenic acids and chlorogenic acids) and sorbitol. Prunes also contain dietary fiber (about 7%, or 0.07 g per gram of prune). Prunes and prune juice are thus common home remedies for constipation. Prunes also have a high antioxidant content.
Dried prunes have been found to contain high doses of a chemical called acrylamide which is a known neurotoxin and a carcinogen.[4] Acrylamide does not occur naturally in foods but is formed during the cooking process at temperatures > 100 °C. Although the common drying mechanism of prunes does not involve high temperatures, formation of high amount of acrylamide has been reported in dried prunes as well as pears.
However, although acrylamide has known toxic effects on the nervous system and on fertility, a June 2002 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization concluded the intake level required to observe neuropathy (0.5 mg/kg body weight/day) was 500 times higher than the average dietary intake of acrylamide (1 μg/kg body weight/day). For effects on fertility, the level is 2,000 times higher than the average intake. From this, they concluded acrylamide levels in food were safe in terms of neuropathy, but raised concerns over human carcinogenicity based on known carcinogenicity in laboratory animals.