The Sweet Truth About Plums vs Prunes: Nutrition and Delicious Recipes

There's a whole world of juicy deliciousness to uncover when it comes to plums vs prunes. This article explores the intriguing differences and surprising similarities between these deep drupes. From the moment of harvest to the transformation that turns plums into prunes, these tasty morsels are worth including in your regular fruit rotation. Whether it’s fresh plums in your fruit bowl during summer or packaged prunes stored securely in your panty year-round, both options are incredibly nutritious and provide various health benefits. Let's get into the truth about plums vs prunes!

First Up, We Have Plums

We wouldn't have prunes without plums, so it makes sense to start here. Plums are stonefruit from the Prunus genus, along with other fruits such as cherries and peaches. Plums have been enjoyed for centuries, with evidence of plum cultivation in Eastern Europe and China dating back several thousands of years. 

Today, there are hundreds of varieties of plums grown worldwide, each with its own unique taste and appearance. Plums come in various colours, including red, purple, green, and yellow, and can be eaten fresh or used in a wide range of culinary creations.

Dried prune and fresh plums with leaves

After That, We Have Prunes

Next, come prunes. Prunes are actually dried plums that have been dehydrated down to remove most of the moisture from the fruit. This process concentrates the flavour and nutrients of plums, resulting in a sweet and chewy dried fruit often enjoyed as a snack or used in cooking. Despite their name, prunes are not just made from one type of plum. In fact, many different varieties can be used to produce prunes. However, they are most commonly made from the European plum known as "Prunus domestic".

How Do Plums Transform Into Prunes?

The process of transforming plums into prunes involves dehydration, which concentrates their nutrients. Each step is relatively straightforward yet critical to the success of yielding delicious prunes. Here's an overview of the steps of making plums into prunes.

Harvesting: First, ripe plums are harvested and cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt or impurities.

Dehydrating: The clean plums are then placed on large trays and inserted into a dehydrator, a special appliance that emits heat to remove the moisture from the fruits. The temperature and drying time can vary, but usually, it's around 85°C for 18-24 hours. This process gradually extracts the water content, leaving a sweet, chewy prune at the end.

Packaging: The prunes are then cooled, packaged, and ready for consumption. The dehydration process preserves the prunes, intensifies their sweetness, and enriches their flavour. Prunes can last up to a year if stored properly in an airtight container or in the refrigerator. 

The Nutritional Value of Plums vs Prunes

Both plums and prunes offer a range of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds that make them a great addition to any diet. 

However, there are some differences in their nutritional profiles due to the dehydration process that prunes undergo. The percentages below indicate the recommended daily value (DV) for adults.


In a 100g serving of plums, there is:


In 100g of prunes, there is 

Plums vs Prunes: Full of Antioxidants

The antioxidant profile of plums and, therefore, prunes is genuinely noteworthy. Plums are packed with several types of plant polyphenols, including:

  • Phenols
  • Anthocyanins
  • Hydroxycinnamic acids
  • Benzoic acids
  • Coumarins
  • Lignans

These antioxidants help protect the body from damage by neutralising harmful free radicals. The anthocyanins in plums are also found in açai fruit and blueberries. These compounds give plums their vibrant purple hue and possess potent anti-inflammatory properties. Lastly, the vitamin C in plums acts as an antioxidant and plays a crucial role in immune function and skin health. 

All these nutrients alongside the antioxidants work together to make both the humble plum and the sweet prune powerful health-boosting fruits. It may well be true, however, that prunes just pip plums at the post!

Still life of plums in a marble tray on a purple background.

Health Benefits of Plums and Prunes 

Prunes vs Plums: Digestive Health

Both plums and prunes play a remarkable role in promoting digestive health. The fibre content in plums aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system by adding bulk to the stool, reducing the risk of constipation, and encouraging regular bowel movements. Prunes, on the other hand, are often touted as nature's remedy for constipation due to their high sorbitol content. Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol with a natural laxative effect, further aiding digestion and elimination. Therefore, incorporating both plums and prunes into your diet can significantly support your digestive health.

Prunes vs Plums: Skeletal Health

Dried plums (prunes) possess a distinctive nutritional and dietary bioactive profile and are believed to impact bone health positively. A review published in the journal Nutrients highlighted the ways by which plums help make bones stronger. Prunes and plums have compounds that help build new bone tissue and prevent existing bone tissue from breaking down. Furthermore, prunes are naturally high in the mineral boron, essential for maintaining healthy bone matrix tissue. These findings are beneficial for postmenopausal women, as their risk of poor skeletal health and osteoporosis is heightened. Eating prunes is a protective intervention in the fight against osteoporosis in this demographic.

Prunes vs Plums: Weight Management

Plums and prunes are both low in kilojoules, which means they are a great addition to any weight management plan. However, the drying process of prunes concentrates its nutrients, resulting in a much higher fibre content as well as producing natural sorbitol and more antioxidants. These components have been shown to aid in weight management by promoting satiety, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing oxidative stress. Therefore, incorporating plums, prunes, and other dried fruits into your diet can support your weight loss journey.

Final Thoughts on Plums vs Prunes

Plums and prunes may have similar origins, but both have their own set of nutritional benefits. Fresh plums have a higher water content and are a rich source of plant antioxidants. On the other hand, prunes have a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals due to their dehydration process. Both fruits are rich in dietary fibre, but prunes contain almost five times the amount found in plums. Prunes also have higher amounts of magnesium, B vitamins and potassium compared to plums. If you're struggling to choose between plums vs prunes, why not enjoy both? Each one differs in taste, texture and nutritional value. Including them in your regular diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Healthy Recipes Using Plums and Prunes

Incorporating both plums and prunes into your diet is easy, delicious and nutritious. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


Plum Parfait



  1. Start by layering a spoonful of Greek yoghurt at the bottom of a glass or jar.
  2. Top the yoghurt with a layer of chopped plums, reserving some for the final layer.
  3. Drizzle a tablespoon of honey over the plums, then sprinkle with half of the slivered almonds.
  4. Repeat these layers until you have used all your ingredients, making sure to end with a layer of plums and almonds on top.
  5. Finish your parfait with a final drizzle of honey and garnish with mint leaves.
  6. Serve immediately, or if preferred, refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow the flavours to meld together.

Plum, Goats Cheese and Walnut Salad


  • 5 ripe plums, pitted and sliced
  • 200g of goats cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup of walnuts, toasted
  • 5 cups of mixed salad leaves (spinach, rocket, lettuce)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Start by washing and drying your mixed salad leaves. Toss them into a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the sliced plums and crumbled goats cheese to the bowl.
  3. In a small pan, toast the walnuts over medium heat until fragrant. Be careful not to burn them.
  4. Once toasted, add the walnuts to the salad.
  5. Drizzle the olive oil over the salad, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Gently toss all the ingredients together until well combined.
  7. Serve this delicious and healthy salad immediately as a light lunch or as a side dish at dinner. Enjoy the sweet and tangy flavours of the plums balanced by the creamy goats cheese and crunchy toasted walnuts!

Prune Energy Balls



  1. Start by placing the prunes, almonds, rolled oats, and chia seeds into a food processor.
  2. Blend the ingredients until they form a sticky dough-like consistency.
  3. Drizzle in the honey while the processor is running. This will help bind the mixture together.
  4. Once the mixture is well combined, use your hands to roll it into small balls. Each ball should be about 1 inch in diameter.
  5. Roll each ball in the desiccated coconut, ensuring they are fully coated.
  6. Place the energy balls on a baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  7. Enjoy these prune energy balls as a quick snack or pre-workout energy boost! Note: these can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.