Prune

Prunes are dried plums. All prunes are plums, but not all plums are prunes. One group of plums, P. domestica, is known as the prune type; it is a major source of prunes, but prune plums are also eaten fresh. Plum designates a variety primarily for uses other than drying such as for fresh consumption, canning, freezing, jams, and jellies. Most plum varieties ferment if dried with the pit; however, if they are dried after removal of the pit, they are called dried plums rather than prunes (14). World production of prunes in 1994 was about 800,000 tons; California produced 70% of the world crop and 98% of the U.S. crop in 1994.

In previous years, primes were produced by sun drying, but today nearly all prunes are produced by dehydration. Prune juice can be produced by simply leaching prunes with hot water, but recently the disintegration process has become the method of choice. Prunes are cooked in a pressure cooker with agitation to break up the fruit. The juice is then separated by centrifugation or pressing and filtered. The clear juice is then concentrated under vacuum to 19 to 20°Brix and poured into cans or bottles. Prune juice concentrate is made by treating the prune juice with a pec-tolytic enzyme to reduce the viscosity and concentrating to the desired solids level. At 70°Brix for domestic use and 72°Brix for export, the product is shelf stable and does not require freezing or a chemical preservative. The bulk concentrate in 5-gal pails, 55-gal drums, or tank cars is often used to reconstitute single-strength juice.

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