Difference Between Prunes and Dates (With Table)

Prunes and dates may look very similar when dried but they are very different fruits. Prunes are dried plums while dates are consumed as both fresh and dried. They both belong to different genera, grown in different climatic regions, but are full of nutrients and have exceptional health benefits.

Prunes vs Dates

The difference between prunes and dates is their type. They both are different fruits of totally different species and thus are different 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 regions of the world. They belong to the genus Phoenix. Dates are nutrients rich and are used in a wide variety of dishes and are consumed both as fresh and dried.

Comparison Table Between Prunes and Dates

Parameters of ComparisonPrunesDates
GenusPrunusPhoenix
ClimateDry and Temperate Monsoon climates.Tropical and Sub-tropical climates.
Main Regions of productionWestern California and Oregon, and Japan in East Asia.North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and South Asia.
Most common tree varietyPrunus domesticaPhoenix dactylifera
Height of the tree10-12 meters21-23 meters
Fruits’ shapeRound cherry-like.Oval cylindrical.
ConsumptionOnly as dried fruits (fresh fruits are called plums).Both fresh and dried.
Nutrition profileCarbohydrates – 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 as Western California and Oregon in the USA and Japan in East Asia. China is the largest producer of the prunes followed by India. However, the top exporter of the fruit is Chile according to the data provided by Observatory of Economic Complexity in 2018.

Health benefits

  1. Good eyes – prunes are rich in vitamin-A and thus help in improving vision.
  2. A happy heart and good nervous response – potassium-rich prunes help in keeping a healthy heart and good nervous response.
  3. Antioxidants protect the cell membranes against radical damage.
  4. Constipation no more – Prunes contain a good amount of fibre and sorbitol which help in digestion and maintain good bowel movement, thus providing relief from constipation.
  5. Strong bones – 100g prunes per day can provide enough boron to support bone formation and are good for people suffering from Arthritis.
  6. 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 of height. They are highly adaptable to climate, that is why they are found all over the world in tropical and sub-tropical climates. 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 and Tunisia was the largest exporter in value and Iraq in volume.
Dates are used in cuisines of different parts of the world but the Middle Eastern cuisine holds a special place for them.

Health benefits

  1. Dates help in weight loss – Dates contain 80% sugar and thus can be substituted for regular sugar to avoid some extra calories.
  2. No Cholesterol, no heart problems – Dates have no cholesterol and a very little amount of fat, thus keep our heart healthy.
  3. For staying fit and strong muscles, one must include dates in the diet as it is rich in protein content.
  4. Dates prevent Osteoporosis and improve bone health as they contain selenium, manganese, copper and magnesium.
  5. Healthy teeth – the fluorine content in dates helps in keeping teeth healthy.
  6. Dates contain iron which helps fight anaemia and also purifies the blood.
  7. Skin benefits – Vitamin C and D in dates has an anti-ageing effect on skin and also prevent melanin-accumulation.
  8. Dates contain fibre which helps in the digestion process.

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Main Differences Between Prunes and Dates

  1. Prunes are the dried fruits of Plum trees especially of the European Plum (Prunus domestica) and dates are fruits of Date palms.
  2. Prunes belong to genus Prunus while dates belong to genus Phoenix.
  3. Prunes are consumed dried only, but dates can be consumed both as fresh or dried.
  4. Prunes are produced in Dry and Temperate Monsoon climates while dates are grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions.
  5. 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 all over the world.

Conclusion

Prunes and dates are two distinct fruits but both are full of energy, vitamins and micronutrients required for the proper functioning of our body. Including these fruits in our regular diet can help us fight many diseases. They can be consumed directly or can be used in different dishes like date chutney or prunes in the pudding. However, sometimes to make these fruits more sweet, the artificial sweetness is added in the processing which might not be good for health. Thus a buyer should always be careful about the product details provided by the manufacturers.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09637480120091982
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/20014091091814
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1471015310000255

Last update on 2021-10-17 / Amazon Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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