Suppression

Prunes

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

A prune is a dried plum.  Any edible plum can be used from Greengages to Victoria plums.  Very sadly in the US the word prune has become unfashionable and there you will find only the term ‘dried plum’ being used, but here in Europe we are made of more robust stuff and for us a prune is a prune is a prune.  Is a prune.

And here we see prunes ........... oops sorry my mistake this is pruning not prunes

 

 

Here is a prune

 

 Some dried prunes in the USA have been found to contain high doses of a chemical called acrylamide which is a known neurotoxin and a carcinogen. Acrylamide does not occur naturally in foods, which rather indicates that it was introduced during the processing of the plums.  The natural drying mechanism for obtaining prunes does not involve chemicals, as such a suspicion hangs over exactly what method is being used to obtain prunes in the USA.  Go organic.

Nutritional value

Here we see the nutritional value of prunes taken from the USDA Nutritions database.  As you can see they are a good source of choline, dietary fibre, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Nutritional value per 100 g

Energy

1,006 kJ (240 kcal)

Carbohydrates

63.88 g

- Sugars

38.13 g

- Dietary fiber

7.1 g

Fat

0.38 g

Protein

2.18 g

Vitamin A equiv.

39 μg

- beta-carotene

394 μg

- lutein and zeaxanthin

148 μg

Thiamine (vit. B1)

0.051 mg

Riboflavin (vit. B2)

0.186 mg

Niacin (vit. B3)

1.882 mg

Pantothenic acid (B5)

0.422 mg

Vitamin B6

0.205 mg

Folate (vit. B9)

4 μg

Choline

10.1 mg

Vitamin C

0.6 mg

Vitamin E

0.43 mg

Vitamin K

59.5 μg

Calcium

43 mg

Iron

0.93 mg

Magnesium

41 mg

Manganese

0.299 mg

Phosphorus

69 mg

Potassium

732 mg

Sodium

2 mg

Zinc

0.44 mg

Fluoride

4 µg

Method

Prunes are used in cooking both sweet and savoury dishes.

Stewed prunes, a compote, are a dessert, they can be gently poached in tea [Earl Grey for example] and if you add spices such as cloves and cinnamon make a lovely winter fruit salad.  Perhaps the best-known gastronomic prunes are those of Agen (pruneaux d'Agen).  Prunes and figs go well together as a winter fruit salad too.  They make a very nice ice cream [home made of course].  Combine chopped dates, figs, prunes, raisins and prune juice with cloves and cinamon and leave it to rest, it makes a wonderful breakfast dish instead of cereal, with plain yoghurt.

Prunes can be stuffed with almond paste and are delicious with coffee, preferably black sweet coffee.  They make a wonderful addition to any cake for a person who needs gluten free food.  Add prunes, ground almonds and extra eggs to a cake mixture omitting all the flour, and you get a moist rich delicious cake.  You can make brownies the same way.

Prunes go very very well with chocolate, just dip them in melted chocolate and let them cool, alternatively they can be an ingredient in a sweet fondue with chocolate as the dipping sauce.

Prunes can be rolled in bacon, fixed with a wooden cocktail stick and grilled, then served with polenta or rice and salad –  ‘devils on horseback’.

If you stuff them with anchovies and almonds they can be sued to stuff a tenderloin of pork which is very gently cooked.  Anchovies stuufed in prunes can be rolled in palma ham and eaten raw with olives as a sort of appetiser with a glass of home made robust elderberry wine [see elderberries].

Prunes are a frequent ingredient in North African tagines - meat, prunes, honey, chick peas, carrots, red peppers, for example, with spices.   

They also go really well with liver and kidneys.  Prunes with cardamon are delicious with all offal. 

According to Wikipedia “Prunes are also used to make juice. In Cornwall, prunes were fermented to form a cider-like drink called "jerkum".”  I think someone may have been having a little joke with them here don’t you?

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