The Benefits Of Prunes And Recipes For Prunes To Make Now
When it comes to prunes there is a lot to know which is why we are diving deep into the history and benefits of prunes while also sharing our favorite recipes that really showcase all this superstar fruit has to offer!
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- The history of California prunes.
- Where are prunes grown?
- How does a fresh plum become a California prune?
- The health benefits of prunes and why you should be eating them.
- Key health benefits of prunes
- Another one of our favorite benefits of prunes is that they are the ultimate kitchen hack!
- How to make prune puree.
- 40 recipes with prunes that you should be making
Before we cover the benefits of prunes and all of those recipes I promised it is important to set the record straight.
All prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes. Prunes are simply dried plums, but not just any plums!
The history of California prunes.
The legendary Petit D’Agen French Plum made its way to California during the Gold Rush and was then grafted onto wild American plum stock. Unlike other varieties, these prune plums ripen fully on the tree — pit and all — without fermenting.
Demand for California Prunes quickly eclipsed the imported varieties and by 1900 there was an estimated 85 prune packing facilities in existence. As the fledging industry entered into the 20th century, it encountered more than a few twists in the road. Oversupply, wartime rationing, and the emergence of the tech industry all complicated the once fairytale-like story of the California Prune industry.
Where are prunes grown?
Silicon Valley was once known as the Prune Capital of the World, but as high-tech companies flocked to that region, prune production shifted to the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys. The rich soil, abundant sunshine, and cool evening temperatures provide the ideal environment for growing premium quality prunes.
How does a fresh plum become a California prune?
It all begins with plums grown with care in California’s mild climate and premium soil. Once the fruit is perfectly ripe, it is harvested and sorted by machine. The fresh plums travel immediately from the orchard to the drying facility, where they are washed and put into temperature-controlled drying tunnels, where they transform into what we all know and love as California Prunes.
The health benefits of prunes and why you should be eating them.
Today, California Prunes are stepping into the spotlight not only for their nutritional profile but also for their culinary diversity.
The benefits of prunes for your gut health are widely known, but this powerful superfood is no one-trick pony.
Prunes are a heart-healthy fruit that can help to lower cholesterol, decrease bone loss, and contribute to stable blood sugar levels. Because prunes contain no added sugar, they add a subtle natural sweetness to foods and work equally well in savory and sweet recipes.
- Blood sugar control
- Bone health
- Gut health
- No sugar added
California Prunes are big on “no” – like no added sugar, no cholesterol, no sodium, and no fat. And that makes it easy (and smart!) to say “yes” to the tasty fruit.
Another one of our favorite benefits of prunes is that they are the ultimate kitchen hack!
Sure the benefits of prunes for your health are widely known, but can we talk about the benefits of prunes for your cooking?! Whether you use prunes whole, diced, and soaked or you make prune puree – just start making your list about all of the various recipes you want to make a little healthier because prunes can get you there!
What is prune purée? Prune purée is a multi-talented baking substitute that is used to replace the sugar, eggs, or fat in recipes.
HOW TO MAKE PRUNE PUREÉ
- 16 ounces pitted California prunes
- 1/2 cup hot water
Combine the prunes and water in a blender. Pulse to combine, then blend until smooth, pourable consistency forms, scraping the sides if necessary.
Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
The benfits of prunes are endless, here is how you can use prune puree in your recipes at home.
Swap for sugar: Use prune purée to replace anywhere from one-third to half of the sugar in any recipe.
Swap out eggs: To replace 1 large egg, use ¼ cup prune purée. Keep in mind that this works best in recipes that call for no more than 3 large eggs.
Lose the fat: To cut down on fat, replace up to half of the butter or oil with an equal amount of prune purée.
Keep scrolling for over 40 recipes with prunes that you should be making!
We’re excited to show you some of our favorite ways to cook with California Prunes. There’s definitely something for everyone in this diverse collection of sweet and savory recipes starring California Prunes. We can’t wait to hear which you try first and which benefit of prunes is your favorite!
Delicious cocktail recipes with prune juice!
We know what you are thinking….prune juice, in cocktails?! YES!!
Prunes get a bad rap here in the United States. Did you know that the U.S. is the only country that’s branded prunes as poop fruit? In other parts of the world, they’re actually considered a delicacy. You can find prunes in French, British, and Italian desserts. Prunes also have a heavy presence in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines.
As soon as you combine the spiced rum, prune juice, citrus, and cinnamon for this cocktail from G Free Foodie on the stovetop something magical happens!
The aroma of the holidays just starts wafting through your entire space in an intoxicatingly comforting scent that is purely nostalgic. Easy sippin’ is in your future with this cocktail!
The best appetizer recipes for prunes!
The Golden State is responsible for over 97% of all prunes grown in the US and 44% of the world’s prune supply which means you’ll have zero problems finding prunes from California. Plus, prunes are in season year-round in California which means you never have to wait to make these delicious recipes for prunes.
This decadent appetizer starts with the triple cream brie that is made with Real California Milk and is topped with a rosemary spiked sauce made from California Prunes!
Pinot Prune Jam is a subtly sweet fruit spread based on sun-ripened prunes and infused with red wine.
Recipes for prunes that are a great way to start the day!
Because they are a low-glycemic food, prunes can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Prunes contain 3 g of fiber. About half of that is insoluble fiber, which helps speed food through the digestive tract. The other half is slow-moving soluble fiber, which is good for enhancing satiety, lowering cholesterol, and regulating blood sugar levels. Here are some of our favorite recipes for starting the day with prunes!
This buckle recipe from Britney Breaks Bread is a three-layer situation.
The bottom layer is a buttery soft cake followed by a second layer that is riddled with blueberries and California Prunes. Then, the ginger streusel topping is piled on last. Get ready to take your tastebuds to flavor town!
Bananas and prunes caramelized with a little brown sugar then eaten with whole rolled oats, a little nut butter, and dried fruits and nuts is a breakfast we can really get behind!
This healthy recipe from Britney Breaks Bread is full of fiber and antioxidants, and most importantly, tons of flavor!
These carrot muffins from Eat the Love are a great way to start your day and an even better pick-me-up midday snack.
The muffins aren’t too sweet and are packed with shredded carrots, apples, chopped pecans, sunflower seeds, and California Prunes.
Our naturally sweetened recipe for baked French toast pairs buttery Brioche bread with cinnamon-laced Granny Smith apples, cream cheese, and toasted walnuts.
Just another recipe that proves that prune puree just might be the GOAT when it comes to natuaral sweetners!
We’re obsessed with these Prune-Filled Pecan Sticky Buns! With a homemade prune lekvar filling, this recipe from Katie of Wheat by the Wayside is indulgent, yet not overly sweet! Since California Prunes are naturally sweet, using them in the filling means there is less refined sugar in this recipe than in a typical sticky bun recipe! Did we mention that these are also gluten-free?
Savory recipes with prunes!
Sweet treats shouldn’t have all of the fun when it comes to prunes! A single serving of 4 to 5 California Prunes has 3 grams of soluble and insoluble fiber to help you maintain good digestive health. Their natural sweetness is just as perfect for dishes like savory sauces, marinades, and hearty stews as it is for dessert.
These chicken enchiladas from No Crumbs Left are next-level delicious. They take some time to make but they are totally worth it!
The secret to explosive flavor in Teri’s enchilada sauce is the prune and red wine reduction in the enchilada sauce – its savory and spicy with a hint of natural sweetness. A total winner, winner, chicken dinner!
This easy homemade Teriyaki Sauce recipe from California Prunes uses prune pureé in place of refined sugars. Keep a batch on hand to whip up delicious meals that you can feel good about serving to your family.
Why order takeout when you can have delicious and healthy Chicken Teriyaki Bowls from California Prunes on the table in under a half-hour?
Since the chicken and broccoli both cook on a sheet pan, there’s minimal clean-up, too. What more could you ask for?
This stirfry from This Mess is Ours is an easy and nutritious weeknight plant-based meal that goes from start to finish faster than you can cook a pot of rice.
This recipe is chock-full of crisp, tender broccoli with just the slightest char and a generous helping of homemade Teriyaki Sauce!
This retro redo from This Mess is Ours is a simple chicken dinner idea that packs BIG, BOLD flavor with minimal effort.
This simple chicken recipe is packed with sweet California prunes, green olives, and capers for a flavor that is truly out of this worked!
This recipe from No Crumbs Left is a truly special roast for a special occasion! First, you make a paste with California prunes, spices, fresh herbs, and olive oil. Then cut slits in the pork shoulder, and insert that goodness right into the pork shoulder. Then you stuff the natural crevices in the roast with prunes too!
Plus, there are prunes reduced in the red wine reduction sauce—which all comes together with the sumptuous pork fat… it’s a trifecta of prunes.
This thick, juicy Burger with Prune Onion Jam is definitely our jam! Get creative and use the leftover jam on sandwiches, grilled meats, or slather it on top of a bagel and cream cheese. Or just grab a spoon and dig right in. It’s THAT good.
The Mississippi Vegan uses California Prunes to add depth of flavor to his vegan Moroccan Stew.
The chopped prunes melt into the sauce and mingle with salty green olives, fresh veggies, and warm spices to create an overall balanced flavor – and one really amazing stew.
Teri of No Crumb’s Left shared her tips and tricks to perfecting EPIC grilled cheese sandwiches. And you’ll never believe that the secret ingredient to her Sweet Savory Caramelized Onions is California Prunes!
This weeknight-friendly meal is made with Moroccan flavors from Little Spice Jar!
This flavorful chicken dish has cinnamon, ground turmeric, cumin, ginger, and coriander to add warmth with a tablespoon of honey, chopped carrots, and prunes for natural sweetness and for balance.
This meal from A Girl Defloured comes together in minutes but tastes like it simmered for hours, thanks to the Instant Pot.
Make the California Prune BBQ Sauce ahead of time (it keeps for up to a month in the fridge) and you’ll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes!
This recipe is easily customized with any hearty winter veg that happens to be in season. Plus, it is made with less refined sugar than you’d expect from a stir fry because the Teriyaki sauce is made with prune pureé! Don’t worry, no one will ever know!
Our favorite cake recipes for prunes!
Fun fact – adding California Prunes to your baked goods is a great way to lower the fat content without losing any moisture. Simply replace half the recommended amount of butter or oil with prune purée!
Bronwen Wyatt of Bayou Saint Cake’s Prune Upside Down Cake with Toffee and Sesame has a deeply flavorful prune-toffee-sesame layer on top of a rich and moist brown butter cake. Use edible flowers and whipped cream to decorate for a decadent dessert! If you love upside-down cake – or just dessert in general – this recipe is for you.
This decadent chocolate fudge cake from This Mess is Ours is covered in a delicious chocolate ganache and makes an absolutely incredible paleo dessert!
That’s right, I said paleo – naturally sweetened, no refined sugar, no processed sugar – just an incredible chocolate fudge cake that most everyone can enjoy.
Chocolate Prune Poke Cake
This cake from Rachel Makes It is literally chocolate and plum heaven. Super rich, moist, and delicious.
In this version of a classic vintage recipe, Rachel includes a healthy dose of both dark chocolate and cognac. I think it really helps to fill out the flavor and gives it a great texture.
Click here for the recipe!
Looking for an easy dessert recipe to make?
This gluten-free snack cake recipe from This Mess is Ours calls for basic pantry ingredients, only needs one bowl to mix, and uses less sugar than traditional snack cake recipes thanks to the help of California Prunes!
This easy cake recipe bakes in half the time of other popular snack cake recipes because this cake is made in a loaf pan!
Love banana bread but looking for something slightly more sophisticated? Enter the Roasted Banana-Prune Bundt Cake from Bake From Scratch. Roasted Bananas add sweet, caramelized flavor, California Prunes give the cake natural, fruity depth, and the Bundt pan its baked in gives the whole thing a beautifully polished look.
What’s a prune farmer’s favorite way to eat prunes? Well, for the Mitchell family, the choice is easy: this Old-Fashioned Prune Cake recipe takes the (ahem) cake.
This soft, prune-studded spice cake from California Prunes is covered in a buttery-sweet glaze that will have everyone going back for another slice (or two.)
Rum Soaked Prune Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce
This boozy swirled cheesecake from A Girl Defloured tastes like a holiday celebration.
Juicy prunes are first soaked in a heady mixture of spiced rum, orange zest, and orange juice, puréed then swirled on top of a rummy cheesecake filling. As if that wasn’t perfection on its own, each slice is then topped with a rich, salted caramel sauce. It’s the cheesecake of your dreams.
Our favorite recipes for prunes in cookies!!!
Prunes pair very well in recipes that utilize rich and complex flavor notes – like espresso, chocolate, and chilies.
Discovering that dried plums (or prune) puree can be used as a substitute for butter or oil in baking is a game-changer.
Take a pro parenting tip from Rachel Bakes It, your kids will never know you’ve baked prunes into these cookies, and you can rest easy knowing you are killing it at the healthy Mom game! WINNING!
Soft, chewy, brownie-like, and wickedly delicious cookies that happen to be vegan?!
How is that even possible?! These cookies from Displaced Housewife get sweetness and texture from a chocolate-prune puree base that’s made with California Prunes, unsweetened cocoa powder, flaxseed, and hot water. No need for eggs or butter. These are honestly too good to be true (it’s true), so make ‘em!
Dessert recipes with prunes that are real show stoppers!
Pies, blondies, and clafoutis are those types of desserts that are just screaming to be made to celebrate something special! Below you will find some of our favorite dessert recipes that really showcase prunes from some of our most trusted California Grown Creators.
California Prunes are descended from the legendary French Petit d’Agen prunes, so it’s no surprise that they work perfectly in our friend Cheryl of Bakes by Brown Sugar’s take on the classic French clafoutis. Oh, and did we mention she tops it with an apple caramel sauce? We’re talking next-level delicious, folks.
Our favorite recipes with prunes for celebrating the holidays!
Sugarplums and shortbreads and fruitcakes oh my! There are so many delicious prune-filled treats to try during the holiday season that your problem won’t be what to make, it will be finding the time to make them all.
Yes, this cake is a delicious treat during the holidays, especially with its warm spices and tender crumb, but we actually love this cake any day of the year!
Bonus: it has less refined sugar, is lower in fat, and is egg-free thanks to the addition of prune puree.
Sugar plums are a traditional holiday candy made of dried fruit, toasted nuts, and crunchy sugar. They are completely delicious and incredibly easy to make. Taste one of these from the G Free Foodie, and you’ll find most of the holiday flavors you love are wrapped up in one bite!
Ahhhh fruitcake, it’s been the butt of holiday jokes for some, but for others, this dense, fruit-filled loaf is the stuff that holiday dreams are made of!
Last year, This Mess is Ours set out on a mission, to embrace her inner fruitcake fan and to develop the BEST gluten-free fruitcake recipe on the internet. We are pretty sure she did it too!
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Maybe you have a favorite recipe using California Prunes that we’ve missed or a question about the benefits of prunes? Snap a pic and tag #CAGROWN on Instagram or leave a comment!
***Updated 2/24/2022 ***