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A prune is any of various plum species, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plum (commonly referred to as a Sugar Plum). They are usually sold as dried fruit. Fresh plums that are marketed as ``prunes`` have an oval shape and a more easily removed pit. The dried fruit (also referred to as a dried plum) is wrinkly in texture, and chewy on the inside.



More than 1,000 cultivars of plums are grown for drying. The main cultivar grown in the US is the Improved French prune. Other varieties include Sutter, Tulare Giant, Moyer, Imperial, Italian, and Greengage. In general, fresh 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.

One of the largest and best-known prune producers is Sunsweet Growers, headquartered in Yuba City, California, who control more than two-thirds 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.[1] However, only some varieties of plum are called prunes when fresh or dried; others have always been called ``dried plums`` when dried.[2]

In India, the prune (both dried and fresh) is known as Alu Bukhara in Hindi. In Persian and Urdu it is known as Alu bukhara, literally Potato of Bukhara as well.


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). Prunes are used frequently in Tzimmes, a traditional Jewish dish in which the principal ingredient is diced or sliced carrots; and in the traditional Norwegian desserts fruktsuppe and sviskekompott. Prunes have also been included in other holiday dishes, such as stuffing, cake, and to make sugar plums.

Prune juice and its health benefits

Prune juice is made by softening prunes through steaming and then putting them through a pulper to create a watery puree. Prunes and their ``juice`` contain the natural laxative dihydrophenylisatin (related to isatin).[3] Faster results are obtained by heating the prune juice. Prunes also contain dietary fiber (about 6%, or 0.06 g per gram of prune). Prunes and prune juice are thus common home remedies for constipation. Prunes also have a high antioxidant content.[4] In China, the popular summer drink suanmeitang, made with sour prunes, is sometimes thought to have positive effects on acidity in the body.

In popular culture

There has long been an urban myth that prune juice is an ingredient in Dr Pepper.[5] Prune Juice appears in the 2003 film Inspector Gadget 2, when Gadget arrests Chief Quimby's Mother he finds Prune Juice in her Purse and he calls it ``Liquid Evil`` because he hates Prune Juice. ``A warrior's drink!`` — Worf, after being introduced to prune juice by Guinan in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, ``