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Ideas for Dried Plums

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I work in a food pantry and we have some dried plums that are just sitting on the shelf, they never get chosen. I suspect that there is still a "prune" stigma even though the package says "Dried Pitted Plums". We want to hand out idea cards with the plums, to give shoppers an idea of how they can be used. What recipe ideas do you all have for dried plums AKA prunes?

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  1. I like them very much with inexpensive cuts of red meat that are often braised. Beef or lamb, but perhaps you all don't have much meat at the food pantry? This time of year groceries put such cheap cuts on sale periodically, so that might be a suggestion, to look at the weekly ads for appropriate recommendations. I put the prunes in during the last half hour of cooking, usually along with carrots, because I don't like them mushy. We can make this stretch into several meals in our small household, over some mashed potatoes, and the last of the meat on sandwiches after a couple days.

    3 Replies
    1. re: amyzan

      they're really good with braised turkey leg and with roast pork, too.

      1. re: sunshine842

        We don't eat pork, but I'll try the turkey leg. Thanks!

      2. re: amyzan

        We do have meat at the pantry, but we never know what kind we are going to get. It's great to hear that it goes well with the meats we get most frequently. (beef, pork, turkey/chicken)

      3. I love those things; silly that they needed to be renamed in the first place.

        Anyway, no particular recipes but I use them in baked goods in place of raisins (cut into bits), in pilafs, and in chicken/pork dishes as part of a sauce, mixed with other dried fruit and savory flavors for balance. Or straight from the pantry when I need a glucose boost.

        1. Pioneer Woman has a recipe for a prune cake she says her husband loves.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ann_l

            I have made that cake several times and it is great! I do halve the frosting and replace half of the oil with applesauce, though.

          2. Chicken Marbella...Here is a link to a lowfat version, but the original recipe is all over the internet http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/chi...

            1. Plum duff is one of my favorites:
              http://www.cooksrecipes.com/dessert/p...
              but here's another one that might interest you:
              http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cake/p...

              1 Reply
              1. re: todao

                Mm-m, one of my favorites as well. I'm not sure if I like the Duff or the rum sauce more, though.

                For the OP - Prunes suffered a serious loss of face in the last ten years or so; the reasons are pretty obvious as generations and perceptions of food products changed. Paulj's comment about donating them to a senior center clearly points to the basic image problem prunes had. Some marketing genius at the California Prune Board decided to reinvent the product, spending 10 mil in the process, hence the change in name from prunes to dried plums. Aside from the fact that that's exactly what they are in the first place, dried plums, the renaming and the subsequent marketing efforts resulted in a upswing in consumer interest, although the stigma obviously still exists in the minds of some. "People have told us that dried plums evoke a more positive 'fresh fruit goodness' image. They've said they're more likely to eat dried plums than prunes," said Richard Peterson, executive director of the California Prune Board. But he had no plans to rename his group the California Dried Plum Board." - CNN

                Greygarious has a good point, calamari sounds light years better than squid. Ridiculous, sure, but perceived image is everything in the eyes of the consumer.

                I love prunes. Just as much as dried plums.

                Saute well seasoned inexpensive chicken thighs in olive oil until well browned, toss in a diced shallot or two, or a onion, a few smashed garlic cloves, and a sliced red bell pepper, add a handful of pitted prunes, fresh orange juice or thawed frozen orange juice concentrate for more intense flavor, orange zest, chicken stock and fresh or dried thyme, simmer until chicken is tender, remove and reduce sauce until slightly thickened. Serve with a simple rice pilaf or couscous, and a nice green salad.

                Recipe adapted and paraphrased by me from the original by Marian Burros.

              2. Donate them to a senor center :)

                1. Prune is to Plum as Squid is to Calamari as Rapeseed is to Canola. Purely cosmetic nomenclature that I find ridiculous.

                  As mentioned, Chicken Marbella was my first thought. I make a fruit compote using prunes, dried apricots, and sultanas, along with fresh apple(a firm variety) and Bosc pear. Cook or nuke them gently in cider or white wine, with honey. Add the golden raisins after cooking, so they don't swell too much.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    As slimehead fish is to Orange Roughy!

                    1. re: greygarious

                      Are those sultanas dried, or a particular type of grape? Same or different from the 'golden raisins' mentioned later? If you can talk about 'dried apricots', why can't someone else use 'dried plums'? Why is one nomenclature more cosmetic than another?

                      1. re: paulj

                        sultanas and golden raisins are the same thing.

                      2. re: greygarious

                        actually, prune is to *dried* plum as squid is to calamari... ;)

                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                          Complicating terminology is the fact that prune can also refer to the fresh fruit. The species is Prunus domestica. In one dictionary prune (the noun) has 2 definitions - the partially dried fruit, and the fresh fruit of the same variety. What they have in common is that the variety can be dried without spoiling. Apparently other 'plums' don't dry well.

                          1. re: paulj

                            i never knew that there was a fresh variety of plum that can be called a prune! thanks paul...learn something new every day.

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              all fresh plums are "prune" or "pruneau" in French (pruneaux for plural)

                      3. A number of years ago, Graham Kerr (Galloping Gourmet) came out with a low fat baking cook book that uses "prune butter" (essentially pureed prunes) instead of butter and sugar in recipes ... one of my favs was the chocolate brownies. They were delicious and dense. The bonus is that people who are looking for low glycemic recipes, prunes are considered low on the glycemic index (29). If you're interested I'll try to dig up the recipe ...

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: CocoTO

                          If it's not too much trouble, I would love to see that recipe. Another thing that we are working on in my program is ways to encourage healthier eating.

                          1. re: justlauralibrarian

                            I'll be happy to look it up for you (it's in a box that I haven't unpacked from a move (3 years ago!!) ... entertaining all weekend, so I'll dig it out on Monday.

                            1. re: CocoTO

                              No unpacking required! Here's Graham Kerr's recipe for Almost Heaven Brownies.
                              http://ccrecipes.med.umich.edu/cgi-bi...

                              1. re: toveggiegirl

                                something wrong with that link...but here's another one:
                                http://www.thepatientchannel.com/docs...

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  many thanks for looking it up toveggiegirl and goodhealthgourmet ... I don't remember sugar being in the recipe I had, but it's possible that I modified it - it's been awhile ...

                                  1. re: CocoTO

                                    I don't understand the concept of a healthful recipe which contains a cup of sugar ! The prunes add so much sweetness themselves.

                                    1. re: magiesmom

                                      I totally agree magiesmom ... I think when I made them I increased the prune butter and removed the sugar ... I'm going to experiment again ...

                                      1. re: CocoTO

                                        i didn't even read the recipe details last night - just spotted the prunes & hot water & knew that was the one so i posted the link.

                                        as with most traditional baking recipes, you can easily cut back the sugar by at least 25-30% and still get great results. in this case since you also get sweetness from the prunes, i'd suggest doubling them to 1/2 cup and reducing the sugar to 1/2 cup (or replacing all of the sugar with 1 cup prunes). also, sift 1/2 teaspoon powdered espresso in with the dry ingredients. those adjustments should still give you rich, fudgy brownies that are sufficiently sweet but not cloying.

                                        one more thought - with the added moisture they might require an extra minute or two in the oven.

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          that's great goodhealthgourmet ... I'm going to test them with your last suggestion, i.e. no sugar/1 cup prunes ... I think that's what I did years ago ...

                                          1. re: CocoTO

                                            and the espresso, yes!
                                            I'm just amazed at the amount of sugar in traditional recipes generally. Sorry if I got hufy.

                        2. I don't love prunes but both these recipes are fabulous.

                          Dave Lieberman's Apricot-Glazed Sweet & Sour Chicken With Sage
                          http://www.food.com/368289

                          Nicole Rees' Dark Chocolate-Prune Bar Cookies
                          http://www.food.com/362974

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: toveggiegirl

                            I second Dave Lieberman's dish. I used to make it all the time.

                          2. D'Artagnan was selling 'French Kisses' which were large pitted prunes stuffed with foie gras, oh my. Easy to make and really luscious

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              Give 'em to kids...you'll have to ration them -- they're sticky and sweet, and most kids love 'em. Mine has been known to put down a piece of candy and pick up dried plums and dried apricots.

                              (Just remember to limit the daily consumption...or everyone will be sorry)

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Really? Do you think the food pantry stocks foie gras?? (As I recall the french kisses are also marinated in cognac)

                                1. re: Marge

                                  When Arianne Daguin serves them at functions, they are not marinated, the prunes are twiggled a bit before the foie is squished in. And l do have hope the Food Pantry in Ohio does stock foie gras

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    I'll bet a few cans trickle through every once in a while...you never know what will show up.

                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                      I've never been to a function with Arianne Daguin, but here is her recipe
                                      http://www.dartagnan.com/3055/article...

                                      1. re: Marge

                                        All l am saying is the prunes spend a lot less time in spirits in her non commercial ones compared to the commercial ones. It was barely noticed in those.

                                  2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    But this is a food pantry, so it probably doesn't help to suggest serving them with foie gras :)

                                    How about putting them beside the cans of span, and suggesting spam stewed with prunes?

                                  3. Soak em and use them to stuff a pork loin or porchetta with some nice olives, tapenade or pesto to offset the sweetness.

                                    1. maybe this one, we've made it many times and great for a pressure cooker recipe, Short Ribs with Asian Flavors (I like adding some fresh grated ginger):
                                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      1. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...
                                        this is amazing!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: magiesmom

                                          As soon as l find a ripe Bosc pear, will make it. Not an easy commodity anymore.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            really? easily found here. I made it with Anjous and it was one of the best things I have ever made.

                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                              For some reason l have found Bosc's to as hard as concrete lately, a few years, and then ripen directly to mush with no luscious point noted.

                                        2. I don't think this would go over well in a food pantry, but prunes are wonderful plumped and stuffed with cream cheese. Add a pecan half. This is a very retro accompaniment for a holiday dinner. But the stuffed prunes are as good as candy. It is hard for some folks to even try one! But once you do, you'll like. Old fashioned, but good.

                                          1. Great in Moroccan food. One thing I like doing with them is adding to the pot after frying off the chickpeas and spices, chucking in a can of crushed tomatoes and mixing it all together, laying white fish (sometimes chicken breasts) on top of thatcovering it up and leaving it to cook and reduce on low heat for a while. Served with some couscous, it's a winner.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: haiku.

                                              I was looking for a way to incorporate them into something Moroccan, this sounds perfect.

                                              1. re: justlauralibrarian

                                                I was looking for a way to incorporate them into something Moroccan
                                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                well in that case...

                                                http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddri...
                                                http://aninvitationtothebarbecue.blog...
                                                http://fescooking.com/recipes/lamb-pr...
                                                http://www.food.com/recipe/beef-and-p...
                                                http://www.pinkofperfection.com/2010/...
                                                http://www.food.com/recipe/fragrant-m...

                                            2. I once had a recipe for a prune and chocolate tart. It was rich and delicious - the prunes/ dried plums added sweetness, depth of flavour and moisture to the tart.

                                              I also love snacking on them. My great-grandmother used to give them to us as little treats when we visited, so they've never had a negative connotation for me. Sadly, my kids need a bit of persuasion.

                                              I found these recipes, they look really good: http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/11409...

                                              http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/life...

                                              1. Laura, maybe it would take opening a bag of prunes (buy one from the grocery so as not to deplete the stock in the pantry) -- put them out on a plate, and let people try them. I know that it's especially hard sometimes to find healthy snacks for kids in economically disadvantaged households...this might be a way to change that, even if only for one family.

                                                Sometimes people won't try something with which they're not familiar...but if more people knew how delicious and healthy (and NOT little old lady) dried plums/prunes are, they might disappear!

                                                (call 'em by their French name -- pruneaux -- sounds fancier!)

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  That is such a simple, fantastic idea. We usually put out coffee and cookies for shoppers to snack on while waiting to shop, maybe next week we can put some prunes out too.

                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                    They ARE such a healthy snack for little ones. We used to "save" them as a "treat" for my nieces and nephew, and they just went wild for them, to the point that we had to say no more than one prune per year of their age, or they'd eat them until they were sick! :)

                                                    They really are delicious, and people who don't eat them because of the name... well, more for me! :D

                                                  2. My Favorite Coffee Cake

                                                    Prune Sour Cream Cake
                                                    1½ cups Sunsweet Prunes (use already pitted, soft
                                                    prunes)
                                                    1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
                                                    2 cups sifted flour
                                                    1 teaspoon baking powder
                                                    1 teaspoon baking soda
                                                    ½ teaspoon salt
                                                    1 cup soft butter
                                                    1 cup granulated sugar -- * I use ¾ cup
                                                    2 large eggs
                                                    1 cup sour cream
                                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                    ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
                                                    1 teaspoon cinnamon
                                                    ½ cup chopped English walnuts
                                                    Pour boiling water over prunes. Let stand 15 minutes. (Skip this step if using the soft pitted kind.) Drain, pit, and dice prunes. Add lemon and set aside.
                                                    Grease and flour 9" tube pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt; remove 1/4 cup and toss with prunes.
                                                    Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Slowly beat in flour mixture, alternnately with
                                                    sour cream and vanilla, beginning and ending with flour.
                                                    Fold in prunes. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts. Turn 1/3 batter into pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 brown
                                                    sugar mixture, repeat layering twice.
                                                    Bake at 350° F. 55 minutes or until done. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Lisbet

                                                      Lisbet, that cake sounds delicious! I'm definitely going to have to try it!

                                                      Laura, could you use sunshine842's suggestion and do it with a 'recipe ideas' display for prunes? Get some really tempting photos to go with it...?

                                                      1. re: Jojo9

                                                        I think we all get that it's a "keep it simple" setup...by definition, a food bank isn't going to have customers with the economic flexibility to buy a lot of special ingredients, but dressing up chicken or turkey parts or a cheap cut of pork might be just the inspiration someone needs.

                                                        1. re: Jojo9

                                                          I think the display is a great idea, and photos could really jazz it up.

                                                      2. I'd probably stick with ideas that are easy and don't require a lot of ingredients. Maybe like chopping them up and mixing with oatmeal for breakfast? Having some with peanut butter and apple slices for a snack? Making a quick compote (just some cinnamon and apple or oj)and serving with yogurt? I'd also highlight the nutritional advantages, iron, fiber, vit.A, etc. I started eating them a few years ago and they are delicious so maybe, as others suggested, just let people try them first.

                                                        6 Replies
                                                        1. re: KateCross

                                                          A compote would be great. That's another thing that we could whip up and put on a sample table.

                                                          1. re: justlauralibrarian

                                                            I just learned an alternate, no added sugar way to make compote, which is to just soak an assortment of dried fruit with water to cover, add a cinnamon stick, overnight. It makes a wonderful, lighter dish that is excellent with breakfast grains or by itself. You really taste the fruit!.

                                                          2. re: KateCross

                                                            another vote for compote, which i happen to love...and you can give them simple serving ideas for it like mixing into yogurt or oatmeal.

                                                            prunes are also terrific in rice pudding, which would be a good budget-conscious use to suggest.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Stewed prunes (basically prune compote) were a seriously special treat when I was a kid. Just in a little dish, still warm, with whatever breakfast we were having. This whole thread is making me crave prunes! Mmmmm!

                                                              1. re: LauraGrace

                                                                i've been on a serious prune kick lately and i'm really sensitive to them...my digestive system has been punishing me for indulging, but i can't help it. they're just. so. good!

                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                  I love prunes, and I have to be so careful when they're in the house! (I tend to want to just . . . snack on a handful. Or three.) I only buy them when I need them for a specific purpose, then I don't open them until I need to, because after that, all bets are off.

                                                                  I've found, too, that I just don't have the self-control to have prune juice in the house.

                                                          3. Thank you all for the fantastic ideas. I'm now inspired to buy some prunes this weekend and experiment.

                                                            1. another riff is jam or spread. plums make a delicious sauce (think apple sauce) over any number of cake/tea breads or as the moisture ingredient in a cake/bread. Stewed plums in red wine, oh my! Even in smoothies, delicious.

                                                              Roasted plums with apples & pears is my favorite though.

                                                              1. Let's not forget good old-fashioned Prune Whip, a treat from our grandparents' generation. Here are three: a basic one, one with nuts and the third baked for a crusty top:

                                                                http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Cl...

                                                                http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1913,...

                                                                http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Prune-Wh...

                                                                10 Replies
                                                                1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                  Speaking of prune whip, remember when Dannon had that flavor in their whole milk yogurt fruit on the bottom lineup, back in the 60's and 70's? I was really sad when that option went away, although it's certainly concoctable at home.

                                                                  My mom made Prune Whip when I was a kid; I used to dream of a room just filled with prunes and whipped cream, all for me.

                                                                  1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                    that Dannon prune yogurt was one of my all-time favorite childhood flavors! the other was Whitney's lemon.

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Wonder why I've never noticed prune yogurt? I've seen fig...but never prune.

                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                        Dannon discontinued the regular prune yogurt years ago, but i think they offer that Activia stuff in a prune flavor.

                                                                        ETA: oops, just noticed that GG mentioned the Activia below.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          NP. I'm not a fan of Activia. I could always whip up some homemade version with prune sauce and Greek yogurt. :) Just never thought of trying it before today.

                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                            i don't know if you can get it where you live, but Liberte makes a super thick and rich European-style plum and walnut yogurt.

                                                                            1. re: toveggiegirl

                                                                              I've seen the brand @ Whole Foods. I may have tried it once....I'll have to check it out again, thanks. Plum and walnut sounds delicious.

                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                yeah toveggiegirl! ... and 8.5% milk fat mmmmm ... the plum walnut is even better than most ice cream ... and I LOVE ice cream ...

                                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Prune was my fav too!

                                                                      3. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                        Trappist brand damson plum jam mixed with plain or vanilla yogurt is a good approximation. Also, Dannon Activia yogurt comes in prune.

                                                                    2. Dolores’s Pickled Prunes

                                                                      Excerpted from The Joy of Pickling, by Linda Ziedrich.
                                                                      2 ½ cups (about 1 pound) unpitted prunes
                                                                      ¾ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
                                                                      1 cup cider vinegar
                                                                      1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices

                                                                      Put the prunes into a large nonreactive saucepan and cover them with water. Bring the contents to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer the prunes for 15 to 20 minutes.

                                                                      Empty the saucepan into a sieve set over a bowl. Return 1 cup of the cooking liquid to the saucepan (if there isn’t 1 cup liquid, add enough water to make 1 cup). Add the sugar, vinegar, and spices to the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and reduce the heat. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes.

                                                                      Add the prunes to the saucepan. Simmer them for 5 minutes.

                                                                      Put the prunes and their liquid into a quart jar and cap the jar. When the jar has cooled, store it in the refrigerator. After a day or two, the prunes will be ready to eat. They will keep well for several weeks, at least.

                                                                      1. i'm surprised no one else has mentioned muffins... i like to use them in oatmeal or bran muffins (sounds like fiber overkill but it's not). some pureed as a sub for most of the fat, then some chopped into pieces, soaked in the vanilla i'm going to use anyway then just stirred in at the end of the batter's mixing.

                                                                        also makes a nice relish - 1 cup dried plums, chopped; 1/2 green chiles diced; 3-4 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 3-4 tbsp port, 1/3-1/2 c green onions, sliced; 1/4 cup toasted walnuts or pecans; crushed red pepper to taste

                                                                        also a good moisture-helper-retainer for burgers, esp turkey burgers, just add some puree to the meat, along with whatever else you want.... a good healthful way to enable turkey burger consumption over beef (assuming you're using lean turkey)