Plums: Vitamins, Minerals, Cooking and Baking of a Traditional Orchard Fruit

‘He put in his thumb, and pulled out a plum, and said ‘What a good boy am I!’’ Plums are such a traditional fruit, such a staple of our diet over the centuries, that they even feature in such centuries old doggerel and nursery rhymes as ‘Georgie Porgie’, if you care to hark back to childhood days.



Do you like to cook or bake with plums? Maybe you have an interest in their nutrient levels and possible health benefits, and wonder about the upside of adding more of them to your diet. What do you need to know about the humble plum fruit?



The family that the plum, both tree and fruit, belongs to, is the Rosaceae plant family (also home to such as the peach and the apple), and this branches off into the Prunus genus to which it also belongs. The plum tree bears beautiful blossom as well as fruit, and has both baking and dessert varieties rather like the apple.



Plums constitute a traditional baking ingredient in such delicious dishes as plum pie and plum crumble, and also contribute to savoury dishes as additions to meat and in chutneys and such like. Plum jam is especially yummy on hot buttered toast!


But what about the nutritional contribution that plums can make to your diet? Their fat content has been put at zero grams per one hundred and sixty-five gram portion, and that's got to be pretty impressive if you're seeking to reduce the amount of fat in your diet or get the excess poundage off. On the other hand the same serving will deliver a pretty cool two grams of fiber (straight to your intestinal tract!) Considering the NAS recommendation for women per day is just twenty-five grams, then that's really not too shabby.[4]


Of course, one of the main uses of plums is in the production of prunes, themselves a tradtional answer to a sluggish digestive tract. One of the sugars contained in plums and in prunes is sorbitol, which also contributes to the effectiveness of prunes and prune juice as a laxative as well as the fiber content.[2]


Are plums (and their dried equivalent, prunes) an addition you're thinking of making to liven up your diet and add nutritional value? Why not start today?




References


[1] Spiller, G., Spiller, M. 'What's with fiber?' Laguna Beach; Basic Health Publications, Inc.: 2005 p.147.


[2] Gross, P.M. 'Superfruits: (Top 20 Fruits Packed with Nutrients and Phytochemicals'. U.S.A. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; 2010.


[3] Hooshmanda,S., Arjmandi, B.H. 'Viewpoint: Dried plum, an emerging functional food that may effectively improve bone health. Ageing Research Reviews. 8;2: April 2009 pp.122-127


[4] Nutritiondata. 'Plums, raw'. Nutritiondata website. Available at <http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2032/2> Accessed on 18/10/2010.

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