A prune is any of various plum cultivars, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plum, sold as fresh or dried fruit. The dried fruit is also referred to as a dried plum. In general, fresh prunes are freestone cultivars, whereas most other plums grown for fresh consumption are clingstone.
More than 1,000 cultivars of plums are grown for drying. The main cultivar grown in the U.S. is the Improved French prune. Other varieties include Sutter, Tulare Giant, Moyer, Imperial, Italian, and Greengage. Fresh prunes reach the market earlier than fresh plums and are usually smaller in size.
Prunes are used in cooking both sweet and savory dishes. Stewed prunes, compote, are a dessert. Prunes are a frequent ingredient in North African tagines. Perhaps the best-known gastronomic prunes are those of Agen.
Prunes are used frequently in Tzimmes, a traditional Jewish dish in which the principal ingredient is diced or sliced carrots; in the Nordic prune kisel, eaten with rice pudding in the Christmas dinner; and in the traditional Norwegian dessert fruit soup.
Prunes have also been included in other holiday dishes, such as stuffing, cake, and to make sugar plums. Prune filled Danish pastries are popular primarily in New York and other parts of the U.S. East Coast. Prune ice cream is popular in the Dominican Republic. Prunes are also used to make prune juice.
Prunes and their juice contain mild laxatives including phenolic compounds (mainly as neochlorogenic acids and chlorogenic acids) and sorbitol.] 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 high antioxidant content