Prune juice is made from dried plums, also known as prunes. It is high in fiber, which can help relieve constipation. Some people find the taste of prune juice to be unappealing on its own. Fortunately, there are many options for making prune juice taste better.
Why Drink Prune Juice?
Before discussing how to make prune juice taste better, let’s review why someone may want to drink it in the first place:
- Relieves constipation – The high fiber content in prune juice helps add bulk to stools and promote regular bowel movements.
- May help regulate blood sugar – Some research suggests prune juice can slow down the rate food leaves the stomach, which can help control blood sugar levels.
- Provides antioxidants – Prunes contain antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
- Supports bone health – Prunes contain boron, a mineral that helps the body retain calcium for healthy bones.
So prune juice offers some important health benefits. The main challenge is finding ways to make the often tart, bitter taste more palatable.
Factors that Affect Prune Juice Flavor
When considering how to make prune juice taste better, it helps to understand what makes it unappetizing for some in the first place. Here are a few factors that influence the flavor of prune juice:
- Tartness – Prune juice has a tart flavor due to its natural acidity, particularly malic acid.
- Bitterness – Prune skins contain bitter compounds that can seep into the juice during processing.
- Astringency – Prunes have tannins that create an dry, puckering sensation.
- Intense prune flavor – Even without the tartness and bitterness, some find the strong prune flavor distasteful.
Knowing what makes prune juice unpalatable provides clues as to what types of ingredients to mix with it to mask those qualities.
Best Things to Mix with Prune Juice
Adding complementary ingredients to prune juice can help mellow out the tartness, bitterness, astringency, and prune flavor that some find off-putting. Here are some of the best mix-ins to make prune juice taste better:
Citrus juices like orange, lemon, or lime can help mask the tart prune flavor. The sweetness helps tone down the bitterness and astringency as well. Start with a small amount of citrus juice, like 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup per cup of prune juice. Adjust to taste preference.
Like citrus juice, apple juice provides sweetness to temper the tartness in prune juice. Its mild flavor allows the prune flavor to still come through while taking the edge off. Mix in equal parts or add more apple juice if a sweeter taste is desired.
The tart flavor of cranberry juice complements the tartness in prune juice. It also introduces a fruity flavor that makes the prune taste less pronounced. A ratio of 1⁄4 cup cranberry juice to 3⁄4 cup prune juice is a good starting point.
A small amount of ginger ale can add sweetness and bubbles to help mellow the flavor of prune juice. The ginger also enhances the earthiness. Add no more than 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 cup ginger ale per serving of prune juice.
Plain, unsweetened yogurt has a creamy, tangy flavor that pairs nicely with prune juice. Try mixing 1 cup prune juice with 1 cup yogurt. The protein in the yogurt also helps balance out the carbohydrates.
Milk is another dairy option that works well for tempering prune juice. Try 1 cup milk to 1 cup juice. Milk helps mute the tartness and astringency. Low-fat or skim milk have a lighter flavor that allows the prune to still come through.
Adding frozen fruit like strawberries, blueberries, peaches, or mangos to prune juice results in a slushy, sweetened texture. Allow the fruit to thaw slightly before blending to better incorporate. Use roughly equal parts fruit and juice.
Chia seeds are a great way to thicken prune juice into a smoothie-like beverage. They also provide fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Use 1-2 tablespoons of chia seeds per cup of prune juice. Let sit 5-10 minutes to thicken.
Adding a scoop or two of unflavored protein powder like whey, pea, or hemp protein is an easy way to improve the nutrition of prune juice. Protein helps balance the carbohydrates and adds a creamy consistency.
For a heartier beverage, blend prune juice with rolled or steel-cut oats. Soaking the oats first softens them up. The oats add fiber and complexes carbohydrates to help stabilize blood sugar when drinking prune juice.
Yogurt and Granola
Take prune juice from beverage to parfait by layering it with yogurt and crunchy granola. The yogurt helps mellow the flavor while the granola adds a delightful textural contrast.
Nut butters like almond, peanut, or cashew butter can be whisked into prune juice for a nutritious, creamy drink. Start with 1-2 tablespoons nut butter per cup of juice and adjust to taste.
|Citrus Juice||Sweetens, reduces tartness|
|Apple Juice||Sweetens, smooths flavor|
|Cranberry Juice||Contributes fruity flavor|
|Ginger Ale||Sweetens, enhances earthiness|
|Milk||Mutes tartness and astringency|
|Frozen Fruit||Sweetens, changes texture|
|Chia Seeds||Thickens, adds nutrition|
|Protein Powder||Makes creamy, adds protein|
|Oats||Adds fiber and carbohydrates|
|Yogurt and Granola||Creamy and crunchy texture|
|Nut Butter||Creamy, nutty flavor|
Tips for Masking Prune Juice Flavor
Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when mixing and blending ingredients with prune juice:
- Start with small amounts of mix-ins and adjust to taste preferences
- Blend well to distribute flavors evenly
- Chill blended drinks to allow flavors to mingle
- Add a garnish like cinnamon or citrus zest for extra flavor
- Use jars or covered cups and straws to minimize aroma if disliked
- Consider diluting prune juice with water to reduce intensity
Experiment to find your own favorite combinations based on ingredients you have on hand. The options are endless!
Can Prune Juice Be Mixed with Other Beverages?
Prune juice doesn’t just mix well with other juices, milks, yogurts, and smoothie ingredients. It can also be combined with some other non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage options, including:
For a refreshing spritzer, combine prune juice with sparkling water. Start with a 1:1 ratio. Add a squeeze of citrus and serve over ice.
Both hot and iced tea work nicely with prune juice. Black tea blends particularly well. Add up to 1⁄4 cup juice to a cup of tea to lightly sweeten it.
Prune juice can be used as the base for a wine spritzer. For those avoiding alcohol, an equal mix of grape juice and prune juice approximates the flavor. Serve over ice with a lemon slice.
Add a few tablespoons of prune juice to your morning joe for a sweetener that also provides antioxidants. Works great in lattes too. May help counter coffee’s diuretic effect.
For a nourishing twist on hot cocoa, use prune juice in place of water when making hot chocolate mix or stir a few tablespoons into an already prepared cup.
Prune juice can add beneficial nutrients and fiber to all types of fruit and vegetable smoothies. Start by replacing 1⁄4 of the liquid with prune juice.
Recipes with Prune Juice as an Ingredient
Prune juice can be used as an ingredient in all kinds of delicious recipes beyond beverages. Here are a few recipe ideas that incorporate prune juice:
Prune Juice Muffins
Add 1⁄4 cup prune juice to muffin batter in place of some of the milk or water. Works well in bran, oatmeal, or fruit muffins. Adds moisture and flavor.
Prune Juice Vinaigrette
Whisk together 2 tbsp prune juice, 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp olive oil, and herbs/spices for a tangy salad dressing.
Prune Juice Barbeque Sauce
Mix 1⁄4 cup prune juice into 1 cup of tomato-based barbeque sauce for a sweet tang. Brush on meats when grilling.
Prune Juice Oatmeal
Add 1⁄4-1⁄2 cup prune juice when cooking steel cut or rolled oats for extra creaminess and fiber.
Prune Juice Overnight Oats
In place of water or milk, use prune juice to moisten oats that soak overnight in the fridge. Top with fruit and nuts.
Prune Juice Smoothie Bowls
Blend thick, creamy smoothie bowls with prune juice as the base along with bananas, yogurt, oats, nut butter, etc. Top with granola.
Prune Juice Pancake Syrup
Simmer 1 cup prune juice with cinnamon and a pinch of salt to reduce to a syrup consistency. Pour over pancakes and waffles.
Prune Juice Pork Roast
Baste pork roast with a mixture of 2 tbsp prune juice, 2 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp olive oil, garlic, and rosemary.
Prune Juice Sorbet
Puree cooked, pitted prunes with prune juice and a squeeze of lemon. Freeze in an ice cream maker for a tangy sorbet.
Potential Health Benefits of Mixed Drinks with Prune Juice
Drinking prune juice mixed with other nutritious ingredients can provide health benefits beyond relieving constipation. Some additional advantages may include:
- Increased vitamin and mineral intake – Adding juices, yogurt, and nuts provides more vitamins and minerals.
- Extra antioxidants – Berries, citrus, tea, and coffee bolster the antioxidant content.
- More fiber – Oats, chia seeds, nut butters, and fruit boost fiber levels.
- Enhanced hydration – The fluid content aids hydration, especially with increased physical activity.
- Blood sugar regulation – Protein, fat, and fiber help moderate glucose absorption and insulin response.
Of course, individual nutritional needs should be considered. But in general, mixing prune juice with healthy ingredients creates a greater nutritional package than prune juice alone.
Potential Drawbacks of Mixing Prune Juice
While mixing prune juice with other ingredients can make it more palatable and add nutrition, there are a couple potential drawbacks to consider:
- Calorie and sugar intake – Adding juices, sweeteners, and other mix-ins increases calories and sugars.
- Interacts with medications – The fiber can interfere with absorption of some medications taken at the same time.
- GI discomfort – Excess juice or sorbitol from prunes could cause bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
- Allergies – Some ingredients like dairy, nuts, and seeds may cause allergic reactions.
Those with diabetes, taking medications, or with food allergies should exercise particular caution and consult a healthcare provider when using prune juice in mixed drinks or recipes.
Should You Mix Anything with Prune Juice?
Most prune juice is 100% juice with no added sugars or ingredients. But its unique flavor profile and nutrition profile lend themselves nicely to mixing with other beverages and foods. While tolerable to some on its own, many people will benefit from diluting, sweetening, or blending prune juice with complementary ingredients. Just be mindful of calories, carbohydrates, and any dietary restrictions or allergies when mixing prune juice with other foods or drinks.
Prune juice is a convenient way to get important nutrients and relieve occasional constipation. However, some find its intensely tart, bitter, and pruney flavor unappetizing on its own. The good news is prune juice blends extremely well into delicious mixed beverages and recipes. Try mixing in juices, smoothie ingredients, milks, yogurts, sparkling water, coffee, tea, wine, and more to help mellow the flavor. With creative combinations, you can make prune juice an enjoyable and healthy addition to your diet.