It’s no surprise that we love prunes. The research says it all — these superfoods are packed with super nutrition! Check out five reasons why we love prunes.

Prunes slow and prevent aging

Guess which fruit has more antioxidants than blueberries? If you said prunes, give yourself a high five! Prunes are the #1 food in terms of antioxidant capacity. This tiny purple fruit topped the list with more than twice the level of antioxidants than other high-scoring fruits.

Antioxidants help slow oxidative damage throughout the body caused by free radicals, which are associated with as many as 60 different diseases. Are you a regular prune eater? Lucky for you, prunes contain manganese, phytonutrient antioxidants neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acid, and the antioxidant beta-carotene. These antioxidants are responsible for slowing and preventing aging and oxidative damage. How’s that for superfood?

* Prior, R., Joseph, J., Cao, G. and Shukitt-Hale, B., “Can Foods Forestall Aging”, Agricultural Research, Feb., 1999

Prunes help prevent diabetes and obesity

Unlike other dried fruit, prunes are low-glycemic, meaning they do not spike blood sugar levels. They’re rich in soluble fiber, which slows the rate at which food leaves the stomach and delays the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. As a result, their high fiber content keeps you satisfied, which can prevent overeating and subsequent weight gain.

Prunes help prevent bone loss

Numerousstudiesand ongoing research support that the consumption of prunes can help prevent and restore bone loss, especially in postmenopausal women. A clinical study published in Osteoporosis International discovered that eating 100 grams (about two servings) of prunes a day for one year was associated with increased bone mineral density and improved indices of bone turnover in postmenopausal women.

Prunes are vitamin- and mineral-rich

Prunes are rich in important vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, boron, potassium, copper, and vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to improve calcium balance and promotes bone mineralization. A serving of 4-5 serving prunes provides 30% of the 80mcg Daily Value. They are also a great vegetarian source of iron, which can help treat and prevent iron deficiency and anemia.

And yes, prunes relieve constipation

Prunes might be the brunt of jokes in the US, but around the world, their superior digestive health benefits are no laughing matter.  Prunes help keep things regular, thanks to a few components, including fiber, sorbitol (a sugar alcohol that pulls moisture into the digestive tract and can loosen the stool) and a natural laxative compound called diphenyl isatin. A 2011 study showed that prunes are more effective than even psyllium for the treatment of mild to moderate constipation.

While we love to eat Taylor Brothers prunes whole, there are several ways to enjoy them in sweet or savory dishes. Chop them into fine pieces and add them to your oatmeal, blend them in your smoothies, or use them as a sugar substitute in your brownie batter. Prunes pair well with chicken, pork and even pizza. Trust us, these aren’t what you’re grandma gave you — our prunes are a dried fruit delicacy. Thankfully, we know the farmers who grow the best.

Cultivation to Harvest

Plum trees start to bear fruit after 4 to 6 years and reach full production capacity after 8 to 12 years in the ground. At this point, we can look forward to about 30 years of commercial productivity, during which time the crop will yield excellent fruit annually. At the end of March, the Yuba City orchards are covered in beautiful prune blossoms.

By the middle of August, the orchards are ready for harvesting and this process takes around 30 days to complete. Growers determine the harvest time by checking the fruits firmness and sugar content. Once the growers are satisfied, they will begin harvesting the well-ripened plums. Freshly harvested plums are transported to a drying facility where the fruit is dehydrated on large wooden trays.

Fresh dried plums are sent to state-of-the-art packing plants. Trained personnel then inspect, grade, size and pack the product. (Unlike the majority of processed fruits, most dried plums are packed to order, whereupon they’re rehydrated, sterilized, put through a final inspection and packaged for shipping.)