November 11, 2021

Pretty in Purple: From Plum to California Prune

Why are prunes not to be underestimated? Not only are the purple fruit full of antioxidants and nutrients, but they also work their magic in a diverse variety of delicious dishes. The range of plum cuisine goes from pretty pizzas to zesty salads and incredible sticky buns. Keep reading to find out more about this mysterious fruit and discover the culinary scope of California Prunes.

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When Plum Turns to Prune…

Harvesting California Prunes begins in mid-August. A mechanical shaker grabs the main limb or trunk of a plum tree and, in a matter of seconds, shakes the fruit onto a catching frame underneath. Branches and leaves are removed and from there the fruits are transported to bins. These bins are then taken to the dryer, where the fruits are first washed and placed on sorting belts. Once sorted, the plums are placed on wooden drying racks in single layers. The fruit is then transferred to tunnel dryers, that act like a convection oven, and dehydrated for 18 hours. This is where a plum becomes a prune.

Long-Lasting Flavor Takes Patience and Care

Even though all prunes are plums, not all plums can be prunes.  However, most California Prunes derive from a specialized variety of plums that are developed to become prunes. A prune plum tree needs approximately four to six years in order to bear it’s first fruits. From then on, trees need another eight to 12 years to reach their full production capacity. At that point, an orchard will produce about three solid decades of prune production.

What makes California Prunes Perfect?

Not without reason, 99% of the U.S. total prune production is grown in California. As well as 40% of the world’s supply. So what makes California Prunes stand out? 

Some may argue that it starts with the long growing seasons in California’s lush valleys, where rich soil is warmed by a steady sun and cool evening temperatures. Beyond the ideal climate and environment, the orchards across the San Joaquin Valleys and Sacramento are tended to by around 800 growers and 28 packers, including several third-generation growers.

“I am a third-generation California prune farmer and I am continuing the legacy my grandparents started over 60 years ago. Now, I enjoy seeing things come full circle as I pass on the same farming experience to my young children.”

Felicia Alverez, Menagerie Farm & Flower

California Prunes have the advantage of a history of more than 150 years of expert craftsmanship. Next to crafting a premium product, California farmers also respect their land and environment. For instance through reducing the use of pesticides, recycling used water on site and prioritizing sustainable measures for production in general.

The Perks of Eating Prunes

Prunes are not only super yummy, but also good for you.  California Prunes can help include important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber in a diet. Together, these nutrients form a web of vital functions that support overall health and the immune system.

Additionally, California Prunes have no added sugar, no cholesterol, no sodium, and no fat, making them a great natural sweetener.  What can’t be overlooked are the benefits related to gut health. Prunes are made up of sufficient soluble and insoluble fibers that are known to help maintain good digestive health. 

In fact, a serving of California Prunes has more antioxidants than a serving of dried blueberries and dried cranberries… Plenty of reasons to stay true to this premium, purple fruit!

Pretty Prune Recipes – A Range of Opportunities

Whether you favor savory or sweet, you can go in any direction with this versatile fruit. Need some inspiration? Take a look at these mouthwatering recipes made with California Prunes! 

Chicken, Blue Cheese, and California Prune Pizza

Want to upgrade your pizza? The Chicken, Blue Cheese, and California Prune Pizza looks and tastes absolutely amazing! The savory and salty flavors of blue cheese and chicken go nicely with the sweeter tasting prunes, some red onion and dried rosemary. 

Citrus Kissed Rice and Kale Salad with California Prunes

A quick, easy, and refreshing salad that everyone can enjoy. California Prunes, kale, onions and orange juice are just some of the ingredients that make up this delicious salad. Want to give it an extra kick?

Add a dash of hot pepper sauce for a bit of spice.

Incredible Pecan Sticky Buns

pecans and chunks of California Prunes and topped with a glossy, buttery, sticky glaze for beyond-bakery flavor. This Incredible Pecan Sticky Bun recipe is definitely the way to take your breakfast-baking game to the next level.

Plain old cinnamon rolls can step aside. These fluffy buns are loaded with toasted pecans and chunks of California Prunes and topped with a glossy, buttery, sticky glaze for beyond-bakery flavor. This Incredible Pecan Sticky Bun recipe is definitely the way to take your breakfast-baking game to the next level.