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Prunes are European plum varieties with a high sugar content which is a trait that makes them suitable for sun-drying. Plums are native to China, America, and Europe. Today there are more than 200 cultivars being grown. There are two main types of plums, European and Japanese, being marketed today. Generally, Japanese plums are larger than European plums. European plums have high sugar content so they are often dried and used for making prunes. Japanese plums ripen earlier than European varieties.
Most European plums will either benefit from or require cross-pollination from another European variety. Prune trees are fast growing and usually begin producing fruit in 3 to 5 years after planting. Prunes are rich in dietary fiber that is effective in improving digestion. They are low in calories and contain ample amounts of vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and carbohydrates.