In Defense of the Humble Prune

I don’t care how hard the California Dried Plum Growers & Packers try, they will never make prunes sexy.  They can change their name to “dried plums” and put them in fancy packages, but they’ll always be prunes in my book.  And the thing is, no matter how old (and constipated) it may make me sound, I really like prunes.  I don’t need them to be sexy.  I just need them to taste good.  And they do.

Prunes have gotten a bad rap over the years.  Mostly because people associate them with “regularity” and other such sensitive topics.  They were those wrinkly black things that your grandparents ate.  And yet nobody had issues eating dried apricots, or raisins, or dried cherries, blueberries, apples or bananas.  For some reason, prunes were the only dried fruit that gave people issues.  So the powers that be decided to change their name.  Next thing you know, we’ll be calling raisins “dried grapes”.  What is the world coming to when even our fruits have politically correct monikers?

I hadn’t bought prunes in years, but over the holidays, Tami posted this recipe for Zinfandel Poached Prunes.  Simply spooned over a dollop of rich mascarpone cheese, it exuded elegance.  This is how you make prunes sexy, I thought to myself, not by changing their name to something innocuous like “dried plums”.  I still haven’t had a chance to make that beautiful dessert, but I did go out and buy a passel of prunes.  And we’ve been snacking on them ever since.  My youngest thinks they’re the biggest, most delicious raisins he’s ever tasted.

People, I implore you.  Give prunes a chance.

Oatmeal with Almonds and Prunes
prep time: 2 minutes
cook time: 10 minutes
yields: 1 serving


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (could sub soy or dairy milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/8 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sucanat (could sub brown sugar)
  1. Bring milk and salt to a boil in a small saucepan
  2. Add the oats and cook, stirring to keep from sticking, until thickened
  3. Add the prunes, almonds and sucanat
  4. Enjoy

This is a hearty, nutrient-dense breakfast.  It is not terribly low in calories, but it makes up for that by packing a wollop of vitamins, minerals and fiber into the calories that are there.  I’m often left wanting when I eat a bowl of cold cereal for breakfast, but this sticks with you.  It’s sweet, but not too sweet.  The texture from the raw almonds is a nice contrast to the oatmeal and the prunes.   And if you use almond milk (as I did), you get an extra bit of almond flavor, which is nice.

So while this is not as sexy as poaching them in red wine and spooning them over creamy Italian cheese, this oatmeal should help you overcome some of your preconceived prune notions.  Oh, believe me – I’ll be poaching prunes soon – but until then, this will have to do.


9 thoughts on “In Defense of the Humble Prune

  1. Where have I seen those Zinfindel prunes recently? TV? I am going to make your oatmeal as soon as I get some almond milk.

  2. Haha, no, prunes will never be sexy, but personally I’ve always found them delicious. Truth be told, growing up in Germany I was completely unaware of the prune-juice-for-regularity-thing and was flabbergasted when people here laughed when I would nibble on prunes.

  3. How long do prunes keep? I’ve had a box in the fridge since September that I used part of for another recipe, but haven’t used the rest since then. If the prunes are still good I think I’ll make this oatmeal tomorrow for breakfast-looks delicious and hearty-my kind of breakfast!

    1. I’m not sure about shelf life, but I would think they’d be alright – especially since you kept them in the fridge. As long as there’s no mold, and they smell okay, I’d think they’d be fine. I read somewhere that they should be used within six months for optimal quality, so you should be okay.

  4. If you chop up the prunes and put them in the cooking liquid (I use water), and add the oats after it boils – the prunes get kind of stewed on their own and makes everything super yummy and sweet – then you don’t even need to add the sucanat or sugar!! I just made some oats this morning – chopped up 3 prunes and put them in one cup of water in a pot, brought it to a boil then added 1/2 cup quick oats and some nutmeg, let it cook uncovered on low for about 2 minutes, and then took it off the burner to cool slightly, then added probably about 2/3 c. unsweetened almond milk and probably close to 1.5 Tbsp cinnamon and a dash more nutmeg. Then I stuck it in the fridge in a bowl cause I like my oats cold. Now it is lunch and I just scarfed them down like there is no tomorrow they were so good!! (Only good thing there IS – or more likely than not IS – tomorrow, cause these are happening again!!

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