Announcing the first (and only)…
This week Meg and I went to the Salon Fermiers here in Paris. Similar to a trade show, the exhibition hall was filled with food producers selling everything from chestnut honey, fleur de sel, foie gras, artisan goat cheeses, and wines from various regions close to Paris.
But what we loved most was the prunes.
When I tell visitors to France that they must try the pruneaux de Agen (prunes from Agen) they snicker. Why do prunes have such a bad rap? Prunes are very good for your health; they’re high in iron, with no added sugar but lots of fiber…and yes, they keep you, um, ‘regular’.
These prunes from Agen were amazing and I was later sorry I only bought one bag. They were moist, plump, and super sweet, with hints of chocolate and spices. We both later wondered how we could get more for this particular producer.
There are close to 3 million plum trees in the southwest region of France, known as Gascony. The finest plum for drying is called the prune d’Ente, a variety that’s better dried than fresh. The first time I had pruneaux d’Agen was when I visited my friend Kate, who happens to live adjacent to Agen, the veritable kingdom of prunes, where prune-lovers from ’round the world congregate to enjoy the world’s best prunes.
The French adore prunes and in fact, after California, France holds the second spot in world prune production. When I visited Gascony Kate, we went to a Prune Museum…and I say “a”(meaning not singular) museum, as there’s more than one in Agen.
One even had a gift shop featuring a comic book super-hero who was prune-fueled!
(And, no, I’m not making that up…)
Prunes have borne the long-suffering brunt of poopy jokes in addition to the recent humiliation of being re-named dried plums, vexing recipe writers everywhere.
You tell me, does dried plum juice sound as appetizing as prune juice?
And how many times have you heard the integrity of prunes denigrated as a snickering joke?
It’s Time To Give Prunes Their Due!
With a nod of inspiration to Wine-Blogging Wednesdays, let’s devote a day to prunes…the moist, wrinkled little nubbins deserve another glorious day in the sun.
So give us your best prune recipe or best idea for using prunes.
Mash some prunes into ice cream, bake prunes in a savory tagine, poach ‘em with some kumquats, or chop them up and beat them into a chocolate chip cookie batter. Stew them with Armagnac, toss them in a seasonal autumn salad with crisp Fuyu persimmons, or make prune enchiladas (…er, on second thought…)
Use your imagination to create something prune-tacular!
UPDATE: Here they are, the prune recipe round-up!