What’s the Difference Between Dates And Prunes?

Learn about their nutrition, advantages, and major distinctions

Written by Elisa Chan. Updated on Learn about their nutrition, advantages, and major distinctions

Dry fruits are not something exotic anymore, but even today we can still become pretty much confused trying to figure out the distinction between certain kinds of them. The two sorts of dry fruits that cause uncertainty are often prunes and dates. 

So, what the difference between dates vs. prunes? Dates are the fruits of the date palm tree. They come from the Middle East and are quite rich in calories. Prunes come from Asia, and they are, in fact, plums that were dried. So prunes are dried plums, and dates are the separate fruit.

What makes them different? Is the date fruit at all? Are prunes the same as plums?

We will try to give clear answers to all of these inquiries!

Difference Between Dates And Prunes

To begin with, dates and prunes are indeed different things. It is pretty hard to confuse these two among themselves since they are basically completely individual fruits. And even in the dry shape (when most fruits usually become almost the same looking), dates, and prunes are quite easy to tell the difference between.

However, let us take a closer look at both to figure out what exactly makes them be distinct.

  • To begin with, what’s the date? Dates are the fruits of the date palm tree in fact. They come from the Middle East and are very popular among the people of those lands being literally a staple foodstuff there.

Dates are their “own” fruits meaning that what we call a dry date is the same thing as its fresh counterpart. Thus dates can be consumed both fresh and dry. 

What do dates taste like? Well, their taste is somewhat different depending on whether the fruit is dried or not. Dry dates are very sugary so that some can’t even eat them whereas, in their fresh form, they have a way less intense sweetness.

Actually, because of the high level of sugars, dates are quite rich in calories! That is why if you are on a diet or simply keep your weight under control, be cautious with not eating too much of these sugary things! It’s all healthy sugars, but still sugars.

  • What are prunes? Prunes come from Asia, and they are in fact plums that were dried. To be more precise, it is a sort of plums that can be dried avoiding rotting. In some countries, prunes are even called dry plums to avoid any misunderstanding.
Difference Between Dates And Prunes
Photo by Ella Olsson

That is also why all the debates regarding prunes vs plums comparison in terms of their nutrition are completely useless. Prunes remain prunes no matter whether they are dry or fresh!

Compared to dates, these plums are not so oblong, their shape is more round and the fruits have some other distinctions. For instance, prunes are way less sugary and are low in calories which makes them a great alternative to dates in dietary eating.

Also, prunes are only available dry and they lack that many varieties compared to dates.

difference between dates and prunes

To have a more complete understanding of the major distinctions between these two kinds of fruits, check out the comparative chart below.

Origin Shape Taste Consumption Where they grow
Dates Middle East Oblong Very sweet Can be eaten both dry and fresh Date palm tree
Prunes Asia Round Moderately sweet Only consumed dry Plumtree

However, both dry plums and dates do have certain similarities! Both are quite chewy, nutritious, high in fiber, and healthy (even despite the level of sugar in them). Both can be successfully used in making desserts as a substitute for sugar or turned into delicious jam.

And one more good thing about these sweet treats is that, unlike candy, it is impossible to eat too much of either of them.

Prunes And Dates Alternatives

Difference Between Dates And Prunes g
Photo by Rachael Gorjestani

It is pretty unlikely that you will one day need to go for a substitution for dates or prunes (simply because they are so tasty!), but anything can happen. Some people, for instance, don’t like dates because of their intense sweetness, and who knows, maybe you will need something sourer when making a dessert.

Anyway, just in case, we decided to share several alternative dry sweet fruits with you that can be successfully used instead of dates or dry plums both for eating and for cooking.

  • If you are looking for an optimal substitute for dates, we would recommend considering dried figs. However, those have quite a lot of tiny seeds that not everyone might appreciate, that is why other options also exist.

For instance, try to go for dried raisins (almost the same sweet), dried cranberries (with a pleasant sour-sweet taste), or cherries. In fact, even dried apricots will do but take into account that, when added to food, they can significantly change its taste! In desserts, it often matters a lot.

  • Prunes are less sweet than their Eastern counterparts, but again, not everyone likes their taste (for some reason, plums don’t seem to be among the top-favorite fruits on this planet).   

So if this is your case, note that dried plums can be shifted to dried apricots in cooking because those have similar taste and texture. But for a snack, dried figs will also do perfectly.

Nevertheless, if you are craving something really sweet, opt for raisins with no hesitation! 

No matter what you will choose, all these fruits are healthy and delicious, and it will be easy to find the perfect match to please your taste buds!

Dates vs Prunes. Nutrition Facts

Difference Between prunes and datesDifference Between prunes and dates

With so many people being obsessed with healthy eating these days, no wonder that even healthy snacks are being judged regarding their usefulness and impact on our health.

Dates and prunes are not an exception as well. They are natural and all-healthy, but what about their nutrition precisely? Let’s see what we can find here.

Dates nutrition

When we take a look at date nutrition, it is easy to get surprised. These wrinkled dry fruits may not look much impressive but they are stuffed with vitamins and elements like iron, calcium, zinc, and tons of others. 

Dates are also a source of dietary fiber which means such a snack will make us feel full way longer than a traditional sandwich.

How many calories are in a date? The number of calories in a 100-grams date package is about 282 kcal which makes these dry fruits a pool of energy. 

dates nutrition

Prunes nutrition facts

As for prunes nutrition, it is no worse than dates. First of all, they are rich in vitamins A and K, and also the number of calories is lower.

Prunes nutrition facts
Photo by Markus Spiske

In addition, dried plums also contain healthy fiber and are stuffed with nutrients that our bodies need so much for proper functioning. So, as a quick and healthy snack, dried plums mixed with some nuts and berries can charge you with energy for quite a long time!

Nevertheless, these fruits are not only appreciated for their nutritional value.

prunes nutrition

Why We Shall Eat More Of Them. Health Benefits Of Dates And Prunes

To stay healthy, we need to eat healthily, and this is when dry fruits come in handy. We all heard about dates and prunes being good for our wellbeing, so let’s see what exactly makes them so special.

You might perhaps have wondered whether prunes are indeed that good for you. And they truly are!  

  • Prunes are loaded with dietary fiber. It keeps hunger away much longer and contributes to maintaining our weight.
  • Dried plums help to prevent atherosclerosis.
  • Eating them is good for diabetes.
  • Prunes can stop the development of colon cancer if consumed daily!
  • Finally, they are good for healthy vision.

Dates, however, are no less beneficial.

  • The fiber in dates is the same long-lasting and good for keeping the weight normal.
  • Dates lower the risk of stroke.
  • Minerals they contain protect us from osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The B6 vitamin we get from dates helps our brain remain healthy and active longer. 

And the best thing is that these delicious treats have no side effects! Well, perhaps except for being quite high in calories (so don’t eat too much of them!).

What About the Figs? Figs Benefits And Distinctions

People often wonder whether figs have anything similar to dates and prunes when they see these dried flattened round things being sold in supermarkets. Well, figs can indeed be used as a substitute for dried plums or dates, but except for that, they are completely individual fruits.

Figs grow on the fig trees, the oldest cultivated tree in the whole world! They can be eaten both fresh and dry which makes them similar to dates, and also figs are sweet and chewy.

What do figs taste like? Dry figs taste sweet with quite an intense, somewhat nutty flavor. When fresh, they are juicier and have a more delicate texture, but the taste basically remains the same.

Dr Joe Schwarcz: The benefits of datesDr Joe Schwarcz: The benefits of dates

What are figs good for? Figs health benefits are undoubted:

  • they keep our blood pressure normal and lower it if it’s too high
  • contribute to keeping our weight even
  • due to prebiotics, they support the good bacteria in our guts and thus improve digestive wellness
  • calcium that figs contain strengthens the bones

Even the nutritional value of figs is rather impressive. These fruits are full of minerals and vitamins A and K, they are lower in calories than dates and contain very little fat.

Like that, now you’re aware of the basic benefits of both dates and prunes, and you know why figs can be used as a complete substitute for any of those. These dried fruits can complement any desserts, pastries, and come as a snack combined with nuts, berries, and whatever you like.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Are dates and prunes good for weight loss?

Yes, these fruits help to keep hunger under control by making us feel full longer due to the dietary fiber they contain.

⭐ Can dates and prunes be used for relieving constipation?

Yes, they can just like dried apricots, raisins, and figs.

⭐ Are dates prunes and figs the same sweet?

No, dates are the sweetest, then come figs, and then prunes.

⭐ Is there a dates and prunes recipe for constipation?

You can mix dates and prunes, add orange and prune juice, and soak it overnight. Then blend and add some wheat bran if desired. That paste will help to deal with the problem.

⭐ Are dates or prunes good for pregnancy?

Yes, dates and prunes help the digestive system run properly, and dates can even reduce the chance of birth defects!

⭐ What’re the dates vs prunes fiber amounts? Which fruits are richer in it?

100 grams of dates contain 3.2 grams fiber whereas the same amount of prunes contains 7 grams of it.

⭐ Are dates or prunes healthier?

Both are good for wellness being loaded with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fiber. Prunes can be considered somewhat healthier because of the fewer sugar amount.

⭐ How are dates and prunes make a difference?

Dates are oblong and golden-brown whereas prunes are almost black and more round. Also, dates are sweeter.

Written by
Elisa is a passionate cook who will advise you on healthy and delicious food topics! With her help, you will discover how to properly store and freeze food, as well as learn important nuances about preserving vitamins in your meals to make them stay nutritious.
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