Botanical Name: Prunus domestica
Species: P. domestica
Synonym: Plum Tree.
Part Used: Fruit, dried.
Habitat: Asia and parts of Europe, best from Bordeaux.
Description: A small tree, 15 to 20 feet high, with numerous spreading branches without spines, young branches smooth, leaves small, alternate on longish petioles, provided with linear, fimbriated, pubescent stipules which are quickly deciduous, blade about 2 inches long, oval, acute at both ends, crenatedentate, smooth above, more or less pubescent underneath, convolute in the bud, flowers appear before leaves. The cultivated plum has been developed from the wild plum, the thorns being lost in the process. Plums were known to the Romans in Cato’s time.
A prune is a dried fruit of various plum species, mostly Prunus domestica. It is wrinkly in shape, unlike its non-dried counterpart. More than 125 cultivars of plums are grown for drying. Four of the most common cultivars are French, Imperial, Italian, and Greengage. In general, prunes are freestone cultivars (the pit is easy to remove), whereas most other plums grown for fresh consumption are cling (the pit is more difficult to remove). Fresh prunes reach the market earlier than fresh plums and are usually smaller in size.
Prune juice is richer in fiber than plum juice and is often marketed as a treatment for constipation, and it helps with kidney stones. One of the largest and best-known prune producers is Sunsweet Growers, headquartered in Yuba City, CA, who control more than 2/3 of the prune market worldwide. In the United States, an effort to rebrand “prunes” as “dried plums” began in 2000, to appeal to a younger market who associated prunes with elderly people. However, only some varieties of plum are usually called prunes when dried; others have usually been called “dried plums” in any case.
Prunes are used in cooking both sweet and savory dishes. Stewed prunes, a compote, are a dessert. Prunes are a frequent ingredient in North African tagines. Perhaps the best-known gastronomic prunes are those of Agen (pruneaux d’Agen).
Constituents: Prunes have a faint peculiar odour and a sweetish slightly acidulous and viscid taste. The ripe fruit contains sugar, gum, albumen, malic acid, pectin, vegetable fibre, etc.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Dried prunes are mildly laxative and are frequently employed in decoction. They form a pleasant and nourishing diet for invalids when stewed; they enter into the composition of Confection of Senna. A medicinal tincture is prepared from the fresh flower-buds of the Blackthorn. Some 20 per cent of oil is obtainable by crushing the Plum kernel – this is clear, yellow in colour and has an agreeable almond flavour and smell. It is used for alimentary purposes. The residue after pressing is used in the manufacture of a brandy, which is largely consumed in Hungary.
All prunes are plums, but not every plum is choicest to be prune.They are very good source of Potassium the mineral that maintains normal blood pressure, heart function & reduces risk of stroke. It also promotes bone health & slow down mascular degeneration. Prunes also aids in normalizing blood sugar levels, provide an intestinal protection & lower cholesterol. Remember to keep prunes fresh by storing them in airtight containers in cool,dry and dark place.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.