National Prune Day is celebrated on June 15 every year. On this day, the many health benefits of these dried plums are highlighted. Prunes are incredibly rich in fiber, vitamin A, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. What’s more, they’re also good for your vision and digestion. It also helps prevent muscular degeneration and night blindness. But don’t be deceived — there are many ways to eat this fruit. If you’re not a fan of its texture, discover different ways to consume them. From cakes, and juices, to salads, this is the time to be creative in incorporating prunes into your diet.
History of National Prune Day
Despite being a popular western food product, prunes actually originated in China. The Chinese cultivated wild plums where they processed them from sour plums to sweet fruit using molasses and brown sugar. They’re dried under the sun before turning into this wrinkly fruit we all know today. The sugar acts as a preservative, which makes them last longer. These fruits are used as stock food items in case their harvest is poor, as well as snacks and meal replacements for travelers.
The popularity of prunes quickly reached the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. The Romans planted the first and most popular variety of prune, which is the little blue plum. It was first harvested in Narbonnaise province, which quickly extended to modern-day Quercy.
The grafting of prunes occurred in the 12th century when Benedectine monks returned from their third crusade and brought new varieties from Syria. They grafted the Syrian Damas variety with the local ones, producing a new variety called ‘Prune d’Ente.’ This new variety has a fine, waxy, and powdery layer that quickly adapted to the southwest soil, making it a staple harvest for the locals.
Its immense demand rose from the 17th century to the end of the 19th century when it was deemed a ‘superfood’ by food experts. It became a staple for sailors and navy personnel as they were packed with vitamins and minerals, giving them energy for the entire day. Later on, they started incorporating prunes with a batter made of flour and eggs. This recipe is now known as the famous ‘breton far aux pruneaux.’ In contemporary times, prunes are now promoted by health experts and dieticians to people who have digestive problems, low blood sugar, and patients with vitamin A deficiency.
National Prune Day timeline
Benedictine monks graft Syrian prunes with local varieties, discovering the ‘Prune d’Ente.’
A harsh winter in Agen forces farmers to plant their plums in the Villeneuvois and Agenais where the temperature is ideal.
Grafted prunes make their way to California, becoming the main state that produces prunes in the U.S.
Californian prunes reach popularity and are in demand in the U.S.
National Prune Day FAQs
How many prunes should I eat daily?
Health experts and dieticians recommend eating one to two prunes a day.
Is it better to eat prunes in the morning or night?
Eating prunes at night can help lower one’s blood pressure.
Do prunes cause gas?
In general, excessive consumption of fruit sugar can cause gas.
National Prune Day Activities
Learn prune recipes
National Prune Day is that time of the year to learn more about prune recipes. Try the easy yet world-famous breton far aux pruneaux for a start and work your way to other more complex recipes.
Try the prune diet
Scientists have shown evidence that eating prunes and drinking prune juice help reduce one’s blood pressure. It doesn’t have to be a strict diet but you’ll be surprised by the results it’ll yield by just doing this once a day.
Order a prune cake
What’s a celebration without a cake? Enjoy the sweet, tangy, and luscious bite of a prune cake with your friends and family on National Prune Day.
5 Fun Facts About Prunes
There are over 1,000 varieties
There are over 1,000 varieties of plums that come as dried or packaged.
A legal name change
Some plum growers changed the name of prunes to ‘dried plums’ as approved by the U.S. F.D.A. to avoid the perception that they’re only consumed to relieve constipation.
Not all plums can be prunes
The cultivation of plums into prunes depends on the soil, climate, and growing season.
Butter can be swapped with pureed prunes in baking, which is ideal for vegan cakes.
They are low in calories
Despite its sweetness, prunes only contain 20 calories.
Why We Love National Prune Day
They’re packed with health benefits
National Prune Day highlights the many health benefits of prunes. This can aid many people who have underlying health conditions, which can be relieved by a simple prune diet.
Prunes can be served in either sweet or savory dishes. This holiday highlights the different ways to consume them.
It helps the dried plums harvesting industry
We love our local farmers, and holidays like National Prune Day help support them. You’re boosting their harvesting business by buying prunes in the local market.
National Prune Day dates