The plum known to us today is a white-flowering tree from the rose family and a hybrid of the blackthorn and the cherry plum, which originates from Persia. The tree can grow up to 10 meters high. In Greece, the plum was cultivated more than 2,500 years ago and the Romans brought it to France and Germany.
Plum varieties include damsons, mirabelles and zipartes, and hybridization has resulted in more than 2,000 species. Only fruits of the varieties that are not prone to fermentation are suitable as dried plums. One differentiates between sour ‘Italian Prunes’ and sweet ‘French Prunes’. The most famous French variety is the ‘Prune d'Agent’. Prunellen are considered as especially fine: the skinned, pitted and dried plums are mainly produced in the South of France. Natural prunes have a residual moisture of 18-23%. Prunes preserved with sorbate have a moisture content of about 28%.
The annual crop of prunes is about 250,000 tons. The US (California) is the main growing area with a share of about 85,000 tons, followed by Chile with 70,0000 tons, France with 40,000 tons and Argentina with 25,000 tons. When plucking the plums, a distinction is made between the Ashlock pitted method, in which the stone is removed by a bolt, and the Elliot pitted method, in which the stone is squeezed out by rolling. Prunes are very rich in fiber, are full of nutrients and are therefore a healthy and aromatic snack.