Prunes and dates may look similar when dried but are very different fruits. Prunes are dried plums, while dates are consumed as both fresh and dried.
They belong to different genera, grown in different climatic regions, but are full of nutrients and have exceptional health benefits.
- Prunes and Dates are two dried fruits popular for their sweet, rich flavors and nutritional value.
- Prunes are dried plums known for their high fiber content, while Dates are the fruit of the date palm tree and are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients.
- While both fruits are healthy and delicious, they have different flavors, and culinary uses, with Prunes often used in baking and Dates, enjoyed as a snack or sweetener.
Prunes vs Dates
The difference between prunes and dates is their type. They are different fruits of different species and thus differ in appearance, taste and uses.
Prunes are a type of plum but in a dried form. They are closely related to cherries, almonds and peaches.
In biological classification, prunes belong to the genus and subgenus Prunus. Prunes are consumed all over the world as a dry fruit and also as an ingredient in different sweet and savoury dishes.
These are rich in micronutrients and vitamins. Dates are fruits of the Date Palms (Phoenix dactylifera) grown in different world regions.
They belong to the genus Phoenix. Dates are nutrient-rich, used in a wide variety of dishes, and consumed both fresh and dried.
|Parameters of Comparison||Prunes||Dates|
|Climate||Dry and Temperate Monsoon climates.||Tropical and Sub-tropical climates.|
|Main Regions of Production||Western California and Oregon, and Japan in East Asia.||North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.|
|Most common tree variety||Prunus domestica||Phoenix dactylifera|
|Height of the tree||10-12 meters||21-23 meters|
|Fruits’ shape||Round cherry-like.||Oval cylindrical.|
|Consumption||Only dried fruits (fresh fruits are called plums).||Both fresh and dried.|
|Nutrition profile||Carbohydrates – 64% (contains 7% dietary fibre)|
Protein – 2%
Vitamin K – 57% of the daily value, and other vitamins and micronutrients.
|Sugar – 80%|
Dietary Potassium – 14% of the daily value
Protein – 2.45%
Dietary Fibre – 8%, and other minerals and vitamins.
What are Prunes?
Prunes are dried plums, generally of the European plum tree (Prunus domestica). They are grown in Dry and Temperate Monsoon climatic regions such as Western California, Oregon in the USA, and Japan in East Asia.
China is the largest producer of prunes, followed by India. However, according to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity in 2018, the top fruit exporter in Chile.
- Good eyes – prunes are rich in vitamin-A and thus help in improving vision.
- A happy heart and good nervous response – potassium-rich prunes help keep a healthy heart and good nervous response.
- Antioxidants protect the cell membranes against radical damage.
- Constipation no more – Prunes contain a good amount of fibre and sorbitol, which help digestion and maintain good bowel movement, thus relieving constipation.
- Strong bones – 100g prunes per day can provide enough boron to support bone formation and are good for people suffering from Arthritis.
- Prunes contain enough vitamins (B, C and others) to keep healthy hair and glowing skin.
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What are Dates?
Dates are fruits of the tree commonly known as Date Palm (Phoenix dactylifera). They are dioecious and have different male and female plants.
Date fruits are oval cylindrical (3-7cm) and range in colour from bright yellow to bright red. Date Palms can reach up to 23 meters in height.
They are highly adaptable to climate, so they are found worldwide in tropical and subtropical climates. The main regions of their production are North Africa, the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia) and South Asia.
According to FAO ( Food and Agricultural Organisation), Egypt was the largest producer of dates, Tunisia was the largest exporter in value, and Iraq in volume. Dates are used in cuisines of different parts of the world, but Middle Eastern cuisine holds a special place for them.
- Dates help in weight loss – Dates contain 80% sugar and thus can be substituted for regular sugar to avoid some extra calories.
- No Cholesterol, no heart problems – Dates have no cholesterol and very little fat, thus keeping our heart healthy.
- To stay fit and have strong muscles, one must include dates in the diet as it is rich in protein content.
- Dates prevent Osteoporosis and improve bone health as they contain selenium, manganese, copper and magnesium.
- Healthy teeth – the fluorine content in dates helps in keeping teeth healthy.
- Dates contain iron which helps fight anaemia and also purifies the blood.
- Skin benefits – Vitamin C and D in dates have an anti-ageing effect on the skin and prevent melanin accumulation.
- Dates contain fibre which helps in the digestion process.
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Main Differences Between Prunes and Dates
- Prunes are the dried fruits of Plum trees, especially of the European Plum (Prunus domestic), and dates are fruits of Date palms.
- Prunes belong to the genus Prunus, while dates belong to the genus Phoenix.
- Prunes are dried only, but dates can be consumed as fresh or dried.
- Prunes are produced in Dry and Temperate Monsoon climates, while dates are grown in tropical and subtropical regions.
- Prunes are less popular in the world as compared to dates. Many people do not even know about prunes, while dates are used in cuisines worldwide.
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Sandeep Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Engineering in Computers from Thapar University (2006). He has 20 years of experience in the technology field. He has a keen interest in various technical fields, including database systems, computer networks, and programming. You can read more about him on his bio page.