Table of Contents
When you take a glance at prunes, they aren’t instantly appealing to you and will not form a part of your purchases like any other fruit. The thing with prunes is, they do not look very tempting and inviting. However, after you read up this article, you will probably grab this one from the racks first thing you go off to shop for your fruit needs. Prunes are primarily plums that have been dried naturally under the sun without any artificial fermentation process.
Plums are very dear to a lot of people. They love the rich colour, juicy flavor, the sweet-sour taste of the plums. The taste of a dried plum changes, it becomes a little sweeter than earlier. It is not as juicy as before because it has been dried under the sun which causes all the water content to evaporate from the fruit. What then makes prunes worth consumption? The answer to this is the nutritional value.
Cultivation of Prunes-
Since prunes are only the dried form of plums, we will concentrate on the kind of soil that supports the cultivation of plums. Plums grown well in moderately, fine-textured loamy soil. They can also be grown in various other kinds of soils however, the one grown in loamy soil produce the best fruit.
Plums grown in the city of Garonne, France are very well-known for their taste and huge size. Naturally, the better the quality of plums, the healthier the quality of prunes. They are known as “pruneaux” in French language. Prune making is practiced like an art in this region. They separate the average quality of plums from the good quality. Even the amount of moisture that has to be dried up for the formation of prunes is precisely decided. Semi dried prunes are known to be preferred option over completely dried prunes.
The specialty in the process of drying is that they first dry the plums by 21-25%. They then re-hydrate the dried plums with a few preservatives to ensure that they do not easily perish away. These first dried and then re-hydrated prunes are very sweet, almost caramelized taste due to the drying process under the sun. The natural sugars get caramelized under the sun’s heat. These prunes are known as conventionally dried prunes.
The moisture level of 35% is directly reduced in the process of making of semi-dried prunes. They do not need to be rehydrated. The flesh is honey coloured against the dark colour of the conventionally dried prunes. Since no rehydration is done, the water content in the prunes is 100% natural which makes them fresh to eat. No preservatives are used either. In order to ensure proper storage, they are frozen. The water in prunes freezes and become hard.
Health Benefits of Prunes
There is a long list of health benefits attached to this fruit and that is the reason why in the introduction paragraph I said these will form the first things you pick up from the racks in the stores. Here are the health benefits of prunes:
1. Assists Digestion:
Prunes are highly fibrous fruits. They are an amazing remedy to chronic constipation problems. The juice made up of prunes has laxative properties. A serving size of six prunes has 4 grams of dietary fiber, and 1/2 cup contains 6.2 grams. It is recommended that women under 50 get 25 grams of fiber each day, and men under 50 get 38 grams.
2. Controls the urge to answer nature’s call:
It can be very frustrating to keep answering the nature’s call in the middle of something very important. No matter how angry you feel for your bladders, they need to be relieved even in the middle of something extremely crucial. To avoid such embarrassing moments, take prunes! The fibrous contents of prunes help to regulate your excretory and urinary system effectively.
3. High Potassium content:
Potassium is an electrolyte that helps efficient bodily functions. Body needs potassium in certain amounts. Potassium helps in bodily functions like digestion, nervous systems, heart rhythm and blood pressure. Body cannot naturally produce potassium so consuming prunes could add a great deal of value.
4. High in Vitamins:
Prunes are enriched with a lot of vitamins. The following vitamins are present in the fruit: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Ribloflavin, Vitamin B-6 and Niacin.
5. Iron Rich Food:
It is exactly what you need when your doctor tells you that your hemoglobin levels are too low and you need to have iron rich food. Prune juice provides 3 mg of iron per cup. Consumption of a whole fruit however provides better results than the juice.
6. Builds Bones and Muscles:
Dried prunes contain boron, an element found in green leafy vegetables as well as prunes. This nutritional element can help build stronger bones and muscles. Prunes are very effective in fighting low bone density- a problem, commonly found amongst women. This makes them a great treatment for problems like osteoporosis. Just as much as 50gms a day has shown exemplary benefits for women.
7. Lowers Blood Pressure:
I’ve always held a strong belief that if your digestive system works well, all your other systems are not hindered in their job. Prunes are an effective choice to deal with your digestion and excretory system, which makes it also a responsible regulator of blood pressure.
8. Weight reduction:
Almost everyone wants to lead a fitter life these days and have been searching through the internet for weight efficient foods. Well here is a steal! Prunes contain fiber and are hence digested very slowly. This gives the body an illusion of being satiated for a longer time and makes you feel less hungry.
9. Hair Loss treatment:
Low level of iron can lead to various problems, including hair loss. Since prunes are your answers for your body’s iron needs, they also help prevent hair loss.
10. Great for skin:
Something that is so high in nutritional contents is sure to give you marvelous skin results. A healthy heart function, good digestion, great iron and calcium content and all that you need to supplement your body with vitamins and minerals- Phew! Could you ask for more? All of this together makes your skin glow and provides you with a natural beauty. Put aside all those artificial make up products and invest in some healthy food!
11. Antioxidant: Black Prunes are excellent source of antioxidants with about 4873 of those magical molecules within. These molecules can help prevent a wide variety of maladies.
Incorporate Prunes in your diet in the following manner:
- Eat them whole, because nothing can be better than original
- Add them to your breakfast, with cereals and milk. The best of any nutritional item is grabbed when eaten early morning.
- Make a juice. Less effective than a whole fruit but great for a change.
- Make jams, smoothies because a little cheating with it is permissible.
- Add them with your daily dose of nuts and dried fruits. They all just complement each other too well
- Add them to baked items. You could make prune pie too. The French add their classic gruyere cheese and bake them together in a pie. It forms a delicacy worth a grab. They also cook Prunes with meats of rabbit, pork, and lamb.
- Prunes chutney is also made in Garonne region where there is a palace typically known for its plum cultivation and prunes making. This place is famously known as the castle of prunes. The chutney harmonizes the tangy spices with sweet-caramelized prunes.
- Team it up with yogurt! They make a perfect blend of taste and nutrition.