June 16, 2020

Article at respectnews.ca

Questioning the humble prune

“Often called "Nature's Remedy," prunes contain sorbitol, which has a natural, laxative effect in the body. Dried plums are also high in disease-fighting antioxidants and have both insoluble and soluble fiber. One cup of pitted, uncooked prunes contains 12 grams of fibre.” -WebMD

Do you like prunes? How about prune juice?

As the website WebMD explains above, prunes are well-known for their laxative properties. They are also highly nutritious.

Because us older folks might rely on their digestive-system magic more than younger people, and because of prunes’ wrinkly appearance, there seems to be no shortage of jokes relating prunes and older people.

So be it.

But I have a serious question about our humble friend the prune. More specifically, my question concerns the product known as prune juice:

What is it?

I know what prunes are. Prunes are dehydrated plums. To make prunes, you start with juicy ripe plums and remove the moisture from them.

So now that you’ve taken the juice from the plums, what’s left to extract from the prunes?

Some people have tried to explain that prune juice is the liquid that’s removed from the plums during prunification (I just made that word up). But that wouldn’t be prune juice, that would be plum juice. When you press grapes after all, you’re not extracting raisin juice.

And if you really can squeeze juice from a prune, why do we not see the juice of other dried fruits on our store shelves? Why not raisin juice, for example, or dried-apricot juice?

Something doesn’t add up, if you ask me.

Here’s something else that doesn’t add up: the amazingly low price of prune juice. A small jug costs four or five dollars. When you consider how valuable it is when you really need it, you would think someone would try to extort the hapless and very uncomfortable shopper for much more money than that.

And think of the expense of producing the stuff! Can you squeeze even a small drop of juice from a single prune? How many tonnes of dehydrated fruit would it take to make one bottle of dried-fruit juice?

It is said you can’t draw blood from a stone. But having drawn juice from a prune, maybe our food companies are working on it!