Prunes History

Prunes are dried plums of the D’Agen variety.

This variety of plum has an exceptionally high sugar content, which distinguishes it from other plum varieties and allows for dehydration without risk of fermentation. Sunsweet Prune Ingredients are produced with no added sugar, unlike many dried fruits such as dried cranberries, dried blueberries, or dried cherries.

Prunes have a mellow, lightly caramelized, fruity flavor with overtones of vanilla. The smooth taste of prunes accentuates and enhances other flavors, making them an ideal ingredient for a wide range of recipes and manufactured food items.

The fruit’s ancestors originated in western Asia near the foothills of the Caucasus region and the shores of the Caspian Sea, a region noted for the longevity of its people. The prune plum migrated westward into Europe and the Balkans, where the tradition of its cultivation and enjoyment continues today. During the mid-nineteenth century Gold Rush, it found its way to California where the warm Mediterranean climate proved ideal for its cultivation. Today, California accounts for 50 percent of worldwide prune production.

Over the last century, prune consumption has grown throughout the world. Approximately 260,000 tons are consumed annually, and consumers from Tokyo to Paris to New York recognize the prune as a nutritious, flavor-filled treat.