Wait! Before you say “yuck”, read on. Don’t be afraid of prunes; they are simply dried plums.
Your Grandma may have used prunes as a natural laxative, and you may remember joking about prunes and old people. Well, yes, they do have that effect if you eat enough of them. If you want to use them for this purpose, you should eat a full cup. It should work within 24 hours, and you can eat them as often as you need to. They are gentle and more natural than many other kinds of laxatives.
However, many people (including me) like prunes just for their taste. Although, I’ll admit to eating them for their laxative purpose too, once my IBS started fluctuating between diarrhea and constipation. OK, laugh and get it out of your system 🙂
Anyway, even when I am functioning normally, I like prunes. I will stew up a big pot full, and eat a few every day as a snack before bed. They are a great source of soluble fibre (the same kind as in Metamucil) and are just plain good for you. Plus, did I forget to mention, they taste good! I can remember when we used to be able to buy cans of prunes in juice at the grocery store, but then suddenly, they weren’t there anymore! I think they have gotten a bad rap (all you people who laughed….). I took to buying plums in season, and canning them, just so that I could make my Mom’s upside down cake. Then I found out that I could just stew up some prunes, and it was the same thing. And way easier!! My Mom used to use them as the fruit base for upside down cake, and if you have never had them that way, really, you have to try it! They are much tastier than pineapple! Just call it plum cake, and then none of your uneducated friends or family members will turn up their noses at it. Trust me, they will gobble it up!
Actually, there are lots of people out there who like prunes. Molly adds sliced orange to hers, and says that when she was a child, her Dad used to bring the prunes to a boil in the evening, turn off the pot and let it sit on the stove till morning. Then they would have them at breakfast. ( Orangette). I tried the overnight method, and it works like a charm! Faith adds port wine to hers (The Kitchn), and David Leibovitz devoted a blog to collecting prune recipes from around the world (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2005/10/prune-blogging-2/). Who knew that the humble prune had such a faithful following?
This past Christmas season we were invited over to a friend’s house for a dinner. She served a thinly sliced, many-layered cake that had a mysterious taste that I just couldn’t place. It was so good, her son and I were fighting over the last piece! All she would say is that it was a Scandinavian specialty. Well, you know that I couldn’t go home without finding out what this cake was! So I pestered her until the secret was revealed. It’s called Vínarterta (Icelandic layer cake) and the filling in all those layers is, you guessed it, prunes! Prunes with lots of cinnamon and vanilla. Unbelievable how yummy it is! She buys hers, because it is quite labor intensive (and an art to see how thin you can get the layers). But, me being me, I now have to try to make it. Maybe closer to Christmas.
For every-day though, I just eat stewed prunes the way they are. Saves on the work and calories of the cake. And helps keep me regular. And is safe for IBS. And I like them! So, hopefully I have inspired you to give them a try.
Prunes are simply dried plums, and stewing them plumps them up and creates a silky, sweet syrup to eat along with it. Good hot or cold, eaten by themselves or topping cakes, custards, oatmeal, yogurt, or anything you can think of. Try them as the fruit base for an upside down cake. You will be hooked!
- 2 cups prunes
- 3 cups water (enough to cover prunes in the pot)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 1 or 2 Tbsp Splenda or sugar if needed (to taste).
1) Put the prunes in a small pot and cover with water.
2) Add lemon juice and cinnamon.
3) Bring to boil, turn down to low and simmer about 20 – 30 minutes (no need to stir).
4) Taste and add sugar or sweetner if desired.
5) If all the juice is gone, add a bit more water. Remove from heat and let them cool. Remember that the prunes will continue to soak up the juice while in the fridge.
6) Serve warm or cold. Will keep up to 2 weeks in the fridge.