Dakota State University -- NDSU Agriculture
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Prairie Fare: New Name, New Image
By Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist
Have you ever thought about changing your name? Would your life be different?
Hereís a case study. Would Marion Morrison have been as popular a cowboy star if he hadnít changed his name to John Wayne?
In the produce world, prunes have had an image problem. How would you like to be known as a laxative? Even people who simply like the taste of prunes probably hide their bottles of prune juice or bags of prunes under boxes of cereal in their grocery carts. Neighbors might snicker.
Savvy prune marketers have tried to counteract negative connotations linked to their product. With the approval of FDA, the prune industry has given its product a new name: dried plums. It makes sense. After all, thatís what they are. For the time being, both names appear on the package. Eventually "prune" will no longer appear on the package.
I wonder if the newly "hip" dried plums will be performing with their cool cousins, the dancing raisins. Or should I say "dried grapes?"
Dried plums are currently being marketed to women ages 35 to 50, mothers with young children, and of course, to the faithful senior population. The campaign has worked. Sales have increased.
Regardless of their name, dried plums are a nutritious addition to the diet. A serving, about five dried plums, contains about 110 calories, no fat, 2.4 grams of dietary fiber, plus some vitamins A and C and a little iron. Dried plums are an excellent source of antioxidant nutrients, which may play a role in reducing our risk of heart disease and cancer.
Dried plum puree is an excellent fat replacer in baked goods. Dried plums also can be used in stuffing, sauces and even in meats. Some researchers have used ground dried plums in processed meats, including sausage, as a way to retain juiciness while trimming fat content. Other researchers have found that adding dried plums to meat mixtures overcomes the tendency for the "warmed-over" flavor in meats.
Hereís a tasty dessert recipe from the California Dried Plum Board website: www.californiadriedplums.org