Plums and prunes are two versions of the same fruit. Plums are the fresh version – prunes are dried plums. Many varieties of plum are available; all are highly nutritious, with low risk of allergy, so plums and prunes are very good to include in baby’s diet from about the age of 8 months (some authorities suggest even sooner, though this must be discussed with your baby’s own specialist.)
The best prunes are those that have been dried without using sulphur (with fans, a food dehydrator or – really naturally – in the sun), and preserved without chemicals. They are sometimes marketed as ‘dried plums’, rather than as ‘prunes’.
Plums and prunes are good for baby (and you):
Plums and prunes are nutritionally equal. They are high in fibre and natural sugars, so wonderful for maintaining bowel regularity and relieving constipation. Sodium-free and low in cholesterol (great for heart health), delicious plums and prunes are rich in vitamins A and C, as well as providing vitamins B1 and B2, niacin, folate, a high amount of potassium, and other minerals.
Hints on buying and storing:
- Organic is good, but plums and prunes are not among the high-contamination risk ‘dirty dozen’.
- Fresh plums are delicate – avoid damaged fruit.
- Press gently to check plums are neither too firm nor too soft.
- There’s no need to store fresh plums in the refrigerator, but use within a week.
- Buy natural ‘dried plums’, rather than canned or packaged prunes.
- Check if prunes are already ‘pitted’ (stones removed).
Tips on cooking:
- Wash, peel and de-stone (pit) fresh plums, poach gently in very little water until soft, then puree using poaching liquid as necessary.
- Or boil whole plums in water for 5-10 minutes until soft, then cool in fresh water, slide off the skins, de-stone and puree.
- Soak dried plums (prunes) in warm water, or steamed gently, until plump and soft – then remove stones (pits) if the prunes are not already ‘pitted’ and puree the pulp, adding soaking liquid as needed.
Ideas for ways of including plums and prunes in your baby’s meals:
- Add plum or prune puree to apple or cranberry puree, or mashed peach, melon or blueberries.
- Include in cooked chicken dishes.
- Stir into plain yogurt.
Please remember: Always consult your baby’s paediatrician or doctor about introducing new foods.
This information presented to you acts as a guide which contains researched information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.
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