California’s long growing seasons, rich soils, lush valleys and steady sun create the perfect environment for this summer’s superfood. A cut above the rest, California Prunes are the result of the well-known and loved Petit d’Agen plum from France being grafted onto wild American plums, but what sets them apart from other varieties is how the plums fully ripen on the tree—yes, even with the pit still in—without fermenting. Richly packed with antioxidants plus vitamins and minerals to support heart and bone health and fibre to maintain good gut health, California Prunes are a versatile ingredient that can be enjoyed on their own, incorporated into baked goods or savoury meals, and much more. Here’s why you need to layer this ingredient into your daily routine—and some yummy recipe inspiration to get started.
Build and maintain an iron foundation with strong bones
Did you know that your bone mass stops developing once you hit 30? Fret not! You can reap the benefits of California Prunes with just one serving (approximately 40g or four to five prunes) a day. An excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, as well as boron, potassium, copper and vitamin B6, prunes have been shown to help contribute to the maintenance of your bones and prevent bone loss in postmenopausal women. What’s better, prunes are also a great source of iron and can both prevent and treat iron deficiency.
Put some pep in your step without spiking your glycemic index
Though they’re a sweet fruit, prunes actually have a pretty low glycemic index of 29 (for context, an apple has a GI of 40 and a pineapple 66) thanks to their high sorbitol levels. Sorbitol is a form of sugar with a slow absorption rate, meaning that it will raise your glucose (sugar) levels slowly and steadily, allowing you to manage your sugar levels and avoid major spikes. Avoiding steep spikes in your blood sugar can help with a plethora of things, but a common benefit is that you’ll avoid the crash that often follows the spike.
Keep regular and keep healthy
With almost 70 per cent of your body’s immune system in your gut, you’ll always want to start your health journey there and branch outward. High in potassium and both soluble and insoluble fibre, prunes are an excellent digestive system’s best friend. Soluble fibre breaks down in water, whereas insoluble fibre remains intact, and a healthy diet incorporates a balance of both. Thanks to bringing both to the table—or rather, the gut—prunes also help reduce cholesterol levels.
Undeniably delicious flavour and versatility
California Prunes are known for their deep, complex sweetness and rich, smooth mouthfeel. They bring a natural sweetness and depth to any dish, making them the dynamic ingredient that your kitchen and its guests will love. California Prunes work beautifully in sweet and savoury dishes and pair perfectly with ingredients falling across a broad spectrum of flavour palates—from sweet, salty, bitter, umami and sour. Our favourites? A sweet and savoury Pork Shoulder with Prunes, Orange and Shiitake Mushrooms, a Sweet and Salty Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and California Prunes and a moist, juicy and tender marinated grilled Plum Good Chicken, seasoned in a balsamic prune sauce. For those with a sweet tooth, Creamy Prune Caramel Mocha Pops are perfect for hotter days, while some Mini Cardamom and Prune Ricotta Cakes will warm up any brunch on cooler days. Not sure where you want to start in your California Prune-inspired culinary journey? Make yourself a batch of Prune Puree and explore how it complements your cooking repertoire.
For more information on California Prunes and delicious recipe inspiration, visit their website.