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Is a prune a dried plum?

Prunes and dried plums are well known for their sweet taste and health benefits. But you may be wondering – are prunes and dried plums the same thing? Or are they different fruits entirely? Keep reading to find out the answer.

What is a Prune?

A prune is a dried plum. More specifically, prunes are plums that have been dried without the pit or skin. Prunes can be made from any variety of plum, but certain varieties of plums are better suited for making prunes. The most common varieties used are:

  • Italian – These plums are oval shaped with deep purple skin and yellow flesh. They are juicy and sweet.
  • French – French plums are smaller and more oval. They have firm flesh and sweet flavor.
  • Imperial – Imperial plums are large, round, and purple. They have juicy amber flesh.
  • Sugar – As the name implies, these plums are sweet. They have a red skin and firm yellow flesh.

Any of these varieties of plums can be dried into prunes. But the Italian and French varieties are most commonly used.

Drying Process

Prunes are made by drying plums whole, without the pit or skin. The drying process is as follows:

  1. Wash and inspect plums
  2. Place plums in dehydrator trays
  3. Dehydrate plums at 135°F to 140°F for 18-24 hours
  4. Test for dryness
  5. Condition prunes by steaming briefly to rehydrate slightly
  6. Package prunes while still pliable

This process results in prunes that contain very little moisture. Most prunes are dried to contain 18% water or less. This water activity prevents growth of bacteria and molds.

Nutrition Facts

Below is a nutritional comparison of raw plums vs. prunes (dried plums).

Nutrient Raw Plums Prunes
Calories 46 66
Fat 0.28 g 0.12 g
Sodium 0 mg 2 mg
Potassium 157 mg 732 mg
Fiber 1 g 7 g
Sugars 9 g 38 g

As you can see, prunes are more calorie, fiber and sugar dense compared to raw plums. Water loss concentrates the nutrients into a smaller serving size. Prunes contain 4 times more fiber and more than double the potassium content found in raw plums.

Health Benefits

Both plums and prunes pack a nutritional punch and offer the following health benefits:

  • Fiber – Prunes are an excellent source of fiber, which promotes good digestion and heart health.
  • Antioxidants – Plums and prunes contain polyphenol antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and cell damage.
  • Bone health – The potassium, vitamin K and boron in prunes helps maintain bone mineral density.
  • Vision health – Plums and prunes contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote eye health.

Additionally, the fiber in prunes makes them beneficial for:

  • Relieving constipation
  • Promoting regularity
  • Lowering cholesterol
  • Controlling blood sugar

Overall, both plums and prunes promote health thanks to their outstanding nutrient and antioxidant contents.

Common Uses

Plums and prunes are versatile fruits that can be used in both sweet and savory applications. Here are some popular uses for each:


  • Eaten raw
  • Made into jam
  • Baked into pies, tarts, crumbles
  • Roasted or grilled
  • Juiced or made into cider
  • Made into salsa


  • Eaten as a dried fruit snack
  • Used in oatmeal and trail mixes
  • Added to smoothies
  • Made into prune juice
  • Used in stews, tagines, and braises for meat
  • Chopped and used in cookies, breads, and cakes

Global Production

Prunes and dried plums are produced globally. However, the United States and France are among the top producers. Here is a breakdown of the top prune/dried plum producing countries and their annual yields:

Country Annual Prune Production (tonnes)
United States 248,000
France 130,000
Chile 120,000
Iran 85,000
China 60,000

France produces mostly Prune d’Agen – a specially designated prune variety grown in southwest France. Meanwhile, California in the U.S. accounts for about 40% of global prune production.

Cost Comparison

Since it takes around 3 pounds of fresh plums to produce 1 pound of prunes, prunes are generally more expensive than fresh plums. Here is a cost comparison:

Product Average Price
Fresh Plums (1 lb) $2.99
Prunes (1 lb) $6.99

However, one pound of prunes contains more servings than one pound of whole plums. So the cost per serving works out to be more comparable.


The peak season for plums is May through October. Fresh plums can be found at grocery stores and farmers markets during these months.

Prunes are available year-round since they have a long shelf life. They can be found in the dried fruit or baking aisle at any grocery store.

You may also come across dried plum varieties like:

  • Sugar plums – Made from greengages or other sweet plum varieties
  • Mirabelle plums – Made from the small, sweet mirabelle plum

But traditional prunes made from d’Agen plum varieties are most common.

The Verdict

So, are prunes dried plums? The answer is a resounding yes! Prunes are made by drying certain plum varieties, which condenses their flavor and nutrients into a chewy, sweet dried fruit.

While prunes and plums are nutritionally similar, the drying process does alter the texture and concentrate the taste of prunes. But no matter how you eat them, both prunes and plums are nutritious fruits full of fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.

Hopefully this article clarified the relationship between prunes and plums. Let’s all eat more plums and prunes for our health!