A wrinkled shiny skinned fruit that is a dried plum, which is native to America, Europe and Asia. There are many varieties of this fruit, which have flesh that ranges in flavor from tart to very sweet, but there are only a few varieties that are suitable for drying. Typically, the plum used for drying is a firmer fruit and one that contains a higher level of sugar. This fruit has a moist flesh with a rich flavor and is available in various sizes. Although sun drying is still utilized, most drying occurs with the use of commercial dehydration dryers. Dried plums, also known as "prunes," are marketed under the name of "dried plums" in order to assist in selling the product. Dried plums are good for eating out of the hand, as a stewed dish, or in sweet and savory dishes. They provide fiber, iron and other types of nutrients to your diet. To chop this fruit, slit and remove the pit if it contains one, then chop into pieces with a chef's knife. A scissors can also be used to cut into pieces. If the knife blade or scissors becomes sticky when cutting, spray them with vegetable oil or dip them into hot water. Dried plums are available throughout the year. When selecting, choose those that are soft, flexible, have a bluish-black skin and are free of damaged or bruised spots. Store the prunes in an airtight container in the refrigerator or in a cool dry place. They should keep for up to six months.
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