Why is a dried plum called a prune?

Many people wonder why a dried plum is called a prune. Sometimes, people use these two words interchangeably, but there is a difference between them. Prunes come from a type of plum tree, and they are dried for a long time until they turn into a prune. Prunes have a wrinkled texture and a sweeter taste compared to regular plums.

In this blog post, we will discuss why dried plums are called prunes, the history and cultural significance of prunes, the health benefits of prunes, and some fun facts about prunes.

Why are dried plums called prunes?

The word “prune” comes from the Old French word “prunier,” which means plum tree. The French introduced the plum tree to California in the 1800s. The dried plums or prunes were popular among the French, and they exported them to other countries. The name “prunes” stuck, and it became the common name used in English-speaking countries.

It is important to note that prunes are different from other types of dried fruits. The process of drying prunes involves leaving them on the tree until they are ripe. Farmers then pick them and dry them for an extended period to reduce their moisture content. The goal is to preserve the plums’ nutrients and fiber while producing a sweet and tangy flavor.

The History and Cultural Significance of Prunes

Prunes have been around for centuries. Historical records show that the Chinese were drying plums as early as 5000 BC. They used prunes for medicinal purposes and believed that they had curative powers. The Greeks and Romans also valued prunes and used them for their laxative effects.

In the middle ages, prunes became a popular food item in Europe. They were a favorite snack among explorers and travelers who needed a high-energy food source that did not spoil easily. Prunes were often added to stews, bread, and other dishes for added flavor and nutrition.

Today, prunes remain a popular food item globally. They are a common ingredient in baked goods, cereals, and desserts. In France, prune plums are used to make Armagnac, a type of brandy that is popular during celebrations. In the United States, prunes are often used as a natural remedy for constipation.

The Health Benefits of Prunes

Prunes are a nutritional powerhouse. They are low in fat and salt and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. A single serving of prunes contains about 3 grams of fiber, which helps to keep the digestive system healthy. Additionally, prunes contain potassium, iron, and vitamin K, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones.

Studies have shown that regular consumption of prunes can lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Prunes are also a natural laxative and can help to relieve constipation and improve digestion.

Fun Facts About Prunes

– Prunes are often associated with senior citizens, but they are a favorite snack among young children in France and Belgium.
– Prunes were so popular in the Roman Empire that they called them “prunum” and used them as a form of currency.
– Prunes were one of the first foods sent to space in the 1960s by NASA. Astronauts needed high-energy food sources that would not spoil easily.
– In the United States, prunes were often marketed as a food for older people, but in 2001, the industry successfully lobbied the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to change the name to “dried plums” to appeal to younger consumers.


Prunes have been around for thousands of years, and they have played an essential role in many cultures globally. They are a nutritious food item that provides numerous health benefits. Despite their popularity among senior citizens, prunes are gaining traction among younger generations and are becoming increasingly popular in a variety of dishes and recipes. So the next time you reach for a prune, remember the history and cultural significance behind this delicious dried fruit.


Why are prunes now called dried plums?

For many years, the dark and wrinkled fruit commonly known as prunes were widely consumed for improved digestive health. However, over time, the term “prune” has acquired a negative connotation with an association with constipation and digestive discomfort. As a result, many manufacturers have begun to use the term “dried plums” instead of “prunes.”

It’s important to note that prunes are, in fact, dried plums. The fruit comes from specific plum varieties that are intended to be dried rather than consumed as a fresh fruit. Generally, the plums are dried to the point of complete dehydration, which results in the dark color and wrinkled appearance that is characteristic of prunes.

So why the shift in terminology from prunes to dried plums? In part, it’s a marketing strategy. The term “prunes” often carries a negative connotation with being associated with digestive issues, and it’s not an attractive term to many consumers. “Dried plums,” on the other hand, feels fresher and healthier.

Additionally, in some countries, the word “prune” can refer to a fruit paste or confection, while in others, it’s a term more commonly associated with plum brandy. In contrast, the term “dried plums” is more self-explanatory and less likely to be confused with other products or terminology.

It’s also worth noting that the majority of the world’s prunes are grown in California. In an effort to improve sales and address concerns about the negative connotations associated with prunes, the California Prune Board launched a marketing campaign in 2000 to promote prunes as “dried plums.” The campaign was successful, and many manufacturers and retailers started using the term “dried plums” instead of “prunes.”

Prunes are now being referred to as “dried plums” due to a variety of reasons, including negative connotations associated with the term “prunes,” the desire for a more self-explanatory term, and the marketing efforts of the California Prune Board. Regardless of what they are called, prunes or dried plums are a healthy and nutritious snack that can help improve digestion and contribute to overall health.

Why are prunes better than plums for constipation?

When it comes to finding relief from constipation, many people turn to natural remedies before reaching for over-the-counter laxatives or medications. One such remedy that has gained popularity over the years is prunes. Prunes are a type of dried fruit that are made from a specific variety of plum, and they have been used for centuries to help with digestive issues.

One of the main reasons why prunes are considered better than plums for constipation is their high fibre content. Fibre is essential for maintaining good digestive health, and many people do not consume enough of it in their diets. Prunes contain around 6 grams of fibre per 100 grams, which is a significant amount. Eating prunes as a snack or adding them to meals can help increase your overall fibre intake, which can aid in keeping the digestive system regular.

However, the real secret behind prunes’ effectiveness as a natural laxative is a compound found in them known as sorbitol. Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that cannot be broken down by the body, which means it remains in the digestive tract. When sorbitol comes into contact with water in the large intestine, it helps soften the stool, making it easier to pass. Prunes are incredibly rich in sorbitol, containing almost 15 grams of the compound per 100 grams.

In comparison, fresh plums contain much less fibre and sorbitol than prunes. While they are still a nutritious fruit and can offer some benefit to digestive health, plums do not have the same concentrated amount of fibre and sorbitol that make prunes such a potent natural remedy for constipation.

It’s also worth noting that prunes are more than just a natural remedy for constipation; they offer many other health benefits as well. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin A. Studies have also suggested that regularly consuming prunes may help lower cholesterol levels, improve bone health, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Prunes are considered better than plums for constipation because of their high fibre content and concentrated amounts of sorbitol. Including them in your diet can help keep your digestive system healthy and regular. While prunes may not be the most glamorous food, they offer a range of nutritional benefits and are a natural way to alleviate constipation.

What’s the difference between a prune and a plum?

Plums and prunes can be easily confused because they are closely related and share similar physical characteristics. However, there are several differences between the two that set them apart. Plums are a popular fruit that belong to the Prunus genus, a family of stone fruits that includes cherries, peaches, and almonds. They are known for their sweet, juicy taste and are commonly eaten fresh, dried, or used in cooking and baking. Prunes, on the other hand, are a type of plum that are generally dried and eaten as a snack or used in cooking.

One of the primary differences between plums and prunes is their use. While plums are often eaten fresh and used in culinary dishes, prunes are typically used as a digestive aid due to their high fiber content. They are also commonly used in baked goods and stews to add flavor and natural sweetness.

Another difference between these fruits lies in their physical appearance. Most varieties of plums have red or yellow skins when ripe, while prunes have a blue or purple skin color when they are fully mature. Additionally, prunes are typically smaller and rounder than other types of plums such as the Santa Rosa or Damson plums.

The texture and flavor profile of both fruits also differ. Plums are known for their juicy texture and sweet taste, but may also have a slightly tart or sour flavor. Prunes, on the other hand, have a chewy and slightly dry texture due to the drying process. They also have a more concentrated sweetness and a pronounced, slightly tangy flavor.

While plums and prunes are both members of the same family of fruit, their differences in use, physical appearance, and taste make them unique. Plums are typically eaten fresh, are larger and rounder, and have a sweet and juicy flavor profile. Prunes, on the other hand, are commonly dried and used for their high fiber content, are smaller in size, and have a distinctively sweet and slightly tangy taste.

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