By James Cannon
Can you think of a more visually unappealing fruit than the humble prune? Let’s just say that they won’t be winning any beauty contests any time soon... But what prunes lack in good looks, they more than make up for in flavor and health benefits. That’s right: eating a portion of prunes a day could have an unbelievable impact on your body.
So, yes, this is a classic case of “don’t judge a book by its cover,” as prunes are hiding plenty of goodness beneath their shriveled – and frankly kind of gross – skins. But that may not be the only surprise in store for you right now. Why? Well, have you ever wondered what a prune really is?
If you haven’t, brace yourself. You see, a prune is just a dried-out plum. That means, of course, that they’re grown on trees. And even the biggest plum fiend couldn’t scarf down the amount of fruit grown on a single mature tree – a whopping 300 pounds a year. That’s enough for a heck of a lot of pies.
But how do plums become prunes? What’s the process? Well, it’s pretty simple, actually. Let’s use the French Château de Born’s approach as an example. After the plums are removed from their trees, they’re placed inside hot air ovens to dry them out. Once the door’s shut, the fruit will sit for roughly 18 hours. Then, voilà, you have wrinkly goodness. That’s all there is to it.
But don’t assume French farmers are the only ones making prunes. The folks in California would definitely have something to say about that! Back in 2018, the Golden State had plum trees that covered an incredible 45,000 acres of land. This meant Californian farms were responsible for four-tenths of the planet’s entire prune output – which is pretty awesome when you think about it.