Plums are actually members of the rose family. Like their fruit buddies the apricots, cherries, and peaches, plums are known as stone fruit because their single pit is hard, like a stone. It is a drupe fruit, meaning it has one seed per fruit. Other drupes include mangoes, dates, and olives.
The words plum and prune are sometimes used interchangeably, but the reality is a little more complicated. All prunes are dried plums, but not all types of plums typically become prunes. There are specific types of plums called prune plums, which are dried into prunes. Prune plums are a kind of plum are more fibrous and sweeter than regular plums but don’t have as robust a flavor. Drying and cooking prune plums bring out their sweetness. That's why when one has delicate teeth or are learning how to eat when a baby, one can have reheated prunes made with boiling water and the result is delicious! I love to add slices of oranges, lemons and a cinnamon stick to my slow cooked, simmering prunes. Really, it can be a dessert if one wants to wow their families at the holiday season.
Plums come in many sizes and colors, including yellow, green, red, blue, black, and purple skin. The flesh can range in hue from yellow to red and everything in between. There are mainly 3 types of plums in the USA: European, Japanese, and American. European plums are slightly smaller than the Japanese ones . There are over 800 different varieties of Japanese plums, which shows how well they respond to crossbreeding and hybridization. There are about 30 species native to the east coast of the USA. You won’t find these in stores, as the trees tend to produce sparsely. Plum trees play well with other fruits, as evidenced by the existence of pluots, which are a hybrid of plums and apricots, and pluerries, which are the offspring of plums and cherries.
Besides keeping us "regular" with the amount of fiber in prunes and plums, they also are good for our heart health. Prunes can reduce cholesterol in the body, decrease inflammation, provide vitamin C, and help prevent bone density loss as we age. Plum extract has been shown to reduce the ability of cancer cells to survive, grow, and proliferate in colon, breast, and liver cancers.
I think if I am having a sugar craving, a bowl of prunes will satisfy me as much as a processed sugary option (maybe even more). Eat more prunes and plums regularly, and see what happens to your health!
SuperiorSelf on YouTube