You may wonder how juice made from the same fruit can be called different things. I know I did! But even though prune juice and plum juice both technically come from plums, there are important differences between the two.
Prune juice vs. plum juice – how do plum juice and prune juice differ? Prune juice is made from prunes, which are naturally sugar-heavy dried plums. Plum juice is made from fresh plums, never dried. Different methods of juicing and different varieties of plums will change the final product and resulting health benefits.
The Differences Between Plums and Prunes
Generally speaking, a prune is just a dried plum. They’ve even been renamed “dried plums” in some areas for marketing reasons. Plums and prunes are the same fruit from the same genus. However, not all plums will be prunes.
There are over two thousand plum cultivars (types) in the genus Prunus. About one thousand of those are intended for drying. The rest are the plump and juicy kind you see in the grocery store. They’re used for baking or eating fresh.
Seems simple, right? But it’s a bit more complicated than that.
Most prunes come from freestone varieties of plums. That means the pit is easy to remove. Even so, many prunes bought in stores still have the pits inside. Be careful not to chip a tooth if you take a bite!
Plums intended for fresh eating are usually clingstone, making the pits harder to remove. The clinging pit isn’t typically an issue for fresh fruits since most people just eat around the pit.
If you’re using prunes for juicing, you should either remove the pits first or buy pitted prunes. Fresh plums always have pits, so you’ll need to remove those yourself before juicing. They are working on pitless plums though, so let’s keep our hopes up!
You can often tell a fresh-eating plum from a prune-type plum by looking at the skin. Prunes are dark blue or purple when they’re ripe. Plums, on the other hand, can have a variety of colors. They range from red to lighter purple to all shades in between.
And finally, the shape matters. Plums can be round or heart-shaped, while prunes are usually oval. It’s not common to find prune plums in stores, but it’s not impossible. Knowing the shape and color can help you choose the right fruit.
All of that is important, but the biggest difference is sugar content. Prune plums have a much higher sugar content than regular plums. It’s natural sugar, but some prunes have added sugar; check the package. All that natural sugar helps them dry into prunes without fermenting.
You may be asking yourself, “What does any of this have to do with plum juice and prune juice?” Everything! Let me explain.
Prune Juice and Plum Juice Differences
Earlier, I said that the benefits of prune juice and plum juice change depending on how they are prepared and which fruit you start with. Let me break that down for you.
Plums are fresh, juicy fruits. They’re loaded with nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. When eaten whole, they have a lot of fiber. Certain juicing methods can keep some of that important fiber, too. Because they have such a high water content, plums are easy to juice at home.
The downside to juicing plums is their clingy pit. A sharp knife can make quick work of that.
On the other side, prunes have had all their moisture removed. That concentrates their similar nutrients and antioxidants into a denser package. Unfortunately, the drying process can reduce or destroy some vitamins. Also, without moisture inside the fruit, juicing can be a bit tougher at home.
An upside to juicing prunes is that the pits are easier to remove with just your fingers. Even better? Some prunes come already pitted so you can get right to juicing.
Nutrition Facts Per 8 Ounce Serving
|Plum Juice||Prune Juice|
Total Fat 0g
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Total Carbs 30.5g
Dietary Fiber 0.3g
Vitamin A 2.1%
Vitamin C 242%
Total Fat 0.1g
Saturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.1g
Total Carbs 45g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Vitamin A 0.1%
Vitamin C 17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Since prune plums are naturally sweeter than other types, the prunes will have a sugary taste. All of that sweetness passes on to the juice, making prune juice more palatable to those with a sweet tooth. Some people don’t care for the taste, but that can be remedied. Keep reading for tips on that.
Plum juice is tangy-sweet. It’s more like biting into a fresh, crisp plum than a glass of prune juice would be. It’s noticeably less sweet than prune juice, but you can still get a nice hint of natural sugar in a fresh glass of plum juice.
You can always alter the flavor of plum or prune juice if it doesn’t suit you. Simply add another liquid or juice, spices, or other flavorings. Get creative with your mixes!
In my experience, plum juice has a lighter texture than prune juice. Straight prune juice tends to be thicker. If that’s not appealing to you, the texture can be altered by adding other liquids. You can also change the texture by adding prunes or plums to smoothies.
Though prunes and plums come from the same fruit, the benefits of their juices vary.
Prune juice, for example, is much higher in potassium: 707mg compared to 252mg in plum juice. Potassium gives a huge boost to your health by protecting against stroke and osteoporosis. It also helps reduce blood pressure and water retention.
Plum juice excels in vitamin C content. With a whopping 242% of the daily recommended value, it’s a true powerhouse for healing your body. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron, is good for your bones and skin, and can protect you against heart disease. This incredible antioxidant may even help prevent certain types of cancer.
For those watching their carbohydrate intake, it’s worth noting that prune juice contains more sugar, and therefore more carbs, than plum juice. If you’re making your own plum or prune juice, you can control the amount of added sugar. Personally, I think both juices are plenty sweet without anything added, but feel free to play around and find your perfect blend.
Fiber is a big deal. Most Americans don’t get enough. Thankfully, prune juice and plum juice both retain a little bit of fiber. If you’re juicing your own, you can control how much gets added back in.
Calcium is an important part of a healthy diet, and prune juice comes out the winner in that category. With 2.4% of your daily calcium, prune juice contributes to bone health and lowers your risk of osteoporosis. Studies have shown that calcium may also protect you against cancer and high blood pressure.
We’re talking a lot about juices, but don’t think those pits are just garbage. You may not be able to juice them, but there are some fun uses for plum and prune pits, including some tasty recipes. By infusing other liquids with the pits, you can add those liquids back into your juice or smoothies. Just be sure to roast the pits at 350 F for around half an hour first.
Plum juice or prune juice for constipation? While prune juice has more fiber to add bulk, they both have the laxative sorbitol. The high sorbitol content in plums and prunes is the main active ingredient. The bottom line is that both will work, but the best option will depend on your personal needs. Check calorie content, sugars, and other nutrients before you decide.
How to make prune juice taste good? Some people don’t enjoy the taste of prunes or prune juice. The following tips can help make prune juice taste better so you don’t miss out on all of the health benefits.
- Mix with other fruit juices
- Add small amounts of sugar, honey, or other sweeteners
- Ice it—cold prune juice often tastes better than room temperature
- Create a prune juice smoothie to add texture and taste
- Try spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or small amounts of coriander
- Be brave and add some heat with hot spices like red pepper or cumin
Can you drink prune juice every day? Yes, you can drink prune juice every day. If you’re just starting out with prune juice, you should take it slow. The added fiber and sorbitol might cause gastric upset. However, as your body gets used to prune juice, those symptoms should subside.
Whether you choose prune juice or fresh plum juice, you’ll be reaping the benefits. Each has a unique taste and texture, but they both make excellent additions to your healthy lifestyle.