prune

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prune,

popular name for a dried plumplum,
common name for a tree of any of many species of the genus Prunus of the family Rosaceae (rose family) and for its fruit, a drupe. The plum is generally cultivated in the temperate zones, though among the numerous varieties and hybrids are types suitable for many
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. Fruits of the many varieties of Prunus domestica, which are firm-fleshed and dry easily without removal of the stone, are gathered after falling from the tree, dipped in lye solution to prevent fermentation, dried in the sun or in kilns, and then "glossed" with a steam, glycerin, or fruit-juice bath to produce a sterile, glossy skin. Most of the commercial product comes from the Pacific coast states. A type of prune was used by Native Americans as a staple item of diet.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Prune

 

a dried plum of the varieties Vengerka Ital’ianskaia, Vengerka Domashniaia, and others. The variety Vengerka Ital’ianskaia yields the best prunes.

Only fleshy ripe plums are suitable for drying. The stone must separate readily from the flesh, and the pulp must contain no less than 10 percent sugar and no more than 1.2 percent acid. The plums are blanched to accelerate drying, remove the waxy coating, and obtain cracks in the skin. Vengerka Ital’ianskaia plums are blanched for 20 to 30 seconds; plums of other varieties are blanched for one to 1 ½ minutes. The plums are then cooled under running water and placed in steam dryers for eight to ten hours at a temperature of 80°C. Toward the end of drying the temperature is lowered to 60°C. After cooling and sorting, the prunes are immersed in boiling water for 1 ½ to two minutes to obtain a shine. They are then treated with glycerin (5 kg per ton of prunes).

There are three grades of commercial prune varieties. Prunes must be black, soft, and tart. The yield of prunes from fresh plums is 20 to 22 percent.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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