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Fresh plums (Prunus domestica)

A prune is a dried plum of any cultivar, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plum. The use of the term for fresh fruit is obsolete except when applied to varieties grown for drying.[1]

Most 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).

Plums, dried (prunes), uncooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 1,006 kJ (240 kcal)
63.88 g
Sugars 38.13 g
Dietary fiber 7.1 g
0.38 g
2.18 g
Vitamin A equiv.
39 μg
394 μg
148 μg
Thiamine (B1)
0.051 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.186 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.882 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.422 mg
Vitamin B6
0.205 mg
Folate (B9)
4 μg
10.1 mg
Vitamin C
0.6 mg
Vitamin E
0.43 mg
Vitamin K
59.5 μg
43 mg
0.93 mg
41 mg
0.299 mg
69 mg
732 mg
2 mg
0.44 mg
Other constituents
Water 31 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database


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 Greengage. Fresh prunes reach the market earlier than fresh plums and are usually smaller in size.


In 2001, plum growers in the United States were authorised by the government to call prunes "dried plums".[2] Due to the popular U.S. perception of prunes being used only for relief of constipation, and being the subject of related joking, many distributors stopped using the word "prune" on packaging labels in favour of "dried plums".[3]

Health effects[edit]

Prunes contain dietary fiber (about 7% per gram; table) which may provide laxative effects,[4] a conclusion reached in a 2012 review by the European Food Safety Authority demonstrating that prunes effectively contribute to the restoration of normal bowel function in the general population if consumed in quantities of at least 100 grams (3.5 oz) per day.[5]


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 vitamin and dietary minerals (10-16% DV; table).


Prunes and their juice contain phytochemicals, including phenolic compounds (mainly as neochlorogenic acids and chlorogenic acids) and sorbitol.[4]


Prunes are used in preparing both sweet and savory dishes.[5] Stewed prunes, a compote, are a common dessert. Prunes are an ingredient in North African tagines or tzimmes, a traditional Jewish dish (in which the principal ingredient is diced or sliced carrots), in the Nordic prune kisel, eaten with rice pudding, and in the traditional Norwegian dessert fruit soup. Prunes have also been included in other holiday dishes, such as stuffing and cake. Prune-filled Danish pastries, yogurt or ice cream containing prunes or prune juice are found in some countries. Chocolate-covered prunes are a traditional confectionery in Eastern Europe. Prunes are also used to make juice and kompot (uzvar), a traditional drink in Europe. In the Cotswolds, prunes were fermented to form a cider-like drink called jerkum which, due to the high sugar content of prunes, was considered particularly potent in alcohol content compared to contemporary ciders and beers.

Contrary to the name, boiled plums or prunes are not used to make sugar plums which instead may be a nut, seed, or spice coated with hard sugar, also called a comfit.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Dehydrated Prunes Grades and Standards". Agricultural Marketing Service, US Department of Agriculture. 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017. 
  2. ^ "FDA Approves Prune Name Change". ABC News. 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  3. ^ Janick, Jules and Robert E. Paull (2008). The Encyclopedia of Fruit and Nuts. CABI. ISBN 0-85199-638-8. p. 696.
  4. ^ a b Stacewicz-Sapuntzakis, M; Bowen, PE; Hussain, EA; Damayanti-Wood, BI; Farnsworth, NR (2001). "Chemical composition and potential health effects of prunes: a functional food?". Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 41 (4): 251–86. PMID 11401245. doi:10.1080/20014091091814. 
  5. ^ a b European Food Safety Authority, Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies. "Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to dried plums of ‘prune’ cultivars (Prunus domestica L.) and maintenance of normal bowel function (ID 1164, further assessment) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006". EFSA Journal. 10 (6): 2712. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2012.2712. 
  6. ^ Kawash, Samira (22 December 2010). "Sugar Plums: They're Not What You Think They Are". The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 July 2017.