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We regularly publish some great healthy living tips, new recipes and other Prune tidbits on our blog

Healthy treats for the kids, just perfect for the summer

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, August 17, 2017

“Mum, I’m hungry!” It’s a fairly constant chorus over the long, school holidays. And it can be tricky – with all that round-the-clock snacking - not to overload on the nasties with fat and sugar and artificial ingredients. Our Frozen Yoghurt with Raspberry Prune will be a welcome addition to your repertoire.

Ingredients

200 g natural yoghurt, mild (3.5 % fat)
100-125 g Sunsweet prunes
250 g frozen raspberries, not defrosted
Optional: 4 ice-cream cones

Instructions

First place the yoghurt and then the prunes and raspberries into a blender. Purée at slow speed, then at medium speed until smooth, repeatedly pushing the raspberries downwards with the pestle. If the ice cream is not firm enough, divide the mixture into portions in dessert glasses and leave to refreeze for 30 to 60 minutes in the freezer. Otherwise, immediately divide the mixture into portions in dessert glasses or, alternatively, divide into portions in ice-cream cones.

Vegan variation: soya yoghurt can be used instead of dairy yoghurt.

Tip: a powerful blender makes the ice cream particularly creamy. A hand-held blender is not recommended. However, if only a hand-held blender is available, first thaw the raspberries, then purée all ingredients together. Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker (in accordance with operating instructions) or leave it to freeze in the freezer. To freeze, divide the mixture into portions in 4 silicone muffin moulds and place in the freezer for 1-3 hours (do not let the mixture get too hard). Remove the ice cream from the moulds and place on plates to serve.

Prunes are perfect for mums-to-be and for kids of all ages, too!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, August 02, 2017

When you’re having a baby – especially if you are becoming a mum for the first time – it can be tricky enough to sift through the advice from well-meaning friends and family. And that’s without factoring in the advice received from near-strangers! We think that the most important thing to remember, though, is that a happy mummy means a happy baby. And something that all new mums have in common is wanting to do the very best for their baby.


It’s important to find a couple of reliable information sources that you can really trust – and to treat all the other bits and pieces of unsolicited advice that are bound to come your way with a pinch of salt. We’ve compiled lots of expert tips for mums-to-be and for new mums on our dedicated pregnancy website. Why not check it out?

Prunes during pregnancy

Constipation is a common complaint during pregnancy with at least half of all expectant mothers affected, at some point. Fortunately, there are some simple diet-based solutions that could help:

  • Drink plenty of fluids. Water, milk, natural fruit juices and herbal teas are all excellent choices. Sunsweet prune juice is also a great choice with its naturally occurring sorbitol and source of fibre. Why not start with the recommended daily serving of 120ml and see how that works for you?
  • Make a concerted effort to include plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in your diet to ensure that you have sufficient fibre. Sunsweet prunes are a high source of fibre and make a tasty and nutritious addition to recipes – both sweet and savoury. They are also a super-convenient snack food.

Prunes for new mums

  • When you have a new arrival in tow, a good night’s sleep can quickly start to feel like a distant memory. It’s not surprising then that energy levels for new mums can hit an all-time low. Enjoyed straight from the pack, prunes are the ultimate grab-and-go snack.
  • Prunes have a low Glycaemic Index (GI) of 29, which means that sugar (energy) is released relatively slowly on digestion.
  • Are a source of vitamin B6, which helps you feel less tired, supports the normal release of energy from foods, & helps make normal blood cells.
  • Are a source of copper & manganese, which support the normal release of energy from foods

Prunes for children large and small

Prunes that have been stewed with other fruits before pureeing – apples can work really well – make a lovely first food for babies. Follow the advice from your healthcare professional, about when to start weaning, and enjoy exploring new tastes with your baby.

And for older children, prunes can be enjoyed straight from the pack, included in the family’s favourite bakes or whizzed into a smoothie. Let your budding chefs be inspired by our recipe pages to create their own smoothies with prunes, prune juice and a repertoire of other healthy yummies!

Enjoy!

PS: Did you know that World Breastfeeding Week starts on the 1st August? Check out the website for lots of hints and tips on feeding your baby. Breast is best, after all. But it’s important to remember that a happy mum means a happy baby!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

A sophisticated salad, perfect for ladies who lunch!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 20, 2017

Summer days and simple salads are perfect partners. But for those occasions – like entertaining friends - when something just a little fancier is called for, our Duck Salad with Prunes, Goats Cheese and Mustard Dressing is just the job. Many elements of this dish can be prepped ahead of time leaving you free to enjoy the company of friends.

Ingredients

200 g roast duck
150 g prunes
100 g goat cheese
2 pears
100 g mixed salad, like chicory, rocket and beet leaves
100 g kale
Mustard dressing:
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp coarse ground mustard
1 dl white wine vinegar
1 tbsp liquid honey
1 dl olive oil
1 dl grape seed oil
Salt
Black pepper

Instructions

  1. Whisk together mustard, vinegar and honey.
  2. Whisk in oil very slowly until it thickens and becomes a creamy dressing. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dice the duck and prunes, cut the pears into thin slices, and carefully mix it with the salad.
  4. Arrange the salad with diced goat cheese and mustard dressing. Serve with whole grain bread.

Tip: The salad can also be made with chicken and red cabbage.

A great way to get fruit into tiny tums

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 13, 2017

It can be tricky, sometimes, tempting little ones to eat healthily. But our super scrummy smoothie recipe will entice even the faddiest of tots. Fresh and frozen fruit both work well to make this refreshing treat. Use your prettiest glasses and plenty of ice. Irresistible!

Ingredients

200g soft fruit: Small handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen), Small handful of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
1 peach, stoned
100g natural yoghurt
1 whole peeled seedless orange
80ml Prune juice
100ml water
Ice to top up the glasses

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a blender, and whizz until smooth, pour into classes and add ice to top them up.


Tackling Tummy Troubles while Travelling

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, July 06, 2017

Tummy troubles are no joke, especially when you’re travelling and especially when you have small kids in tow. But are digestive complaints - like constipation – just “one of those things” when the family is on the move or are there some simple steps that you can take to nip any potential problems in the bud?


For many of us, holidays can mean:

  1. Taking our eye off the healthy eating ball with far more treats in our diet than we’re used to (and with far less fibre).
  2. Getting dehydrated. As the sun comes up, temperatures rise making everyone a little hotter – and a little thirstier - than they’re used to. And as the sun goes down, exotic cocktails can be a temptation for the grown-ups in the group. It’s really important to keep fluid levels topped up but – sorry! – alcoholic drinks don’t count.
  3. Relaxing by the pool rather than swimming the length and breadth of it. All that sunshine can make physical exercise feel like way too much effort.

And that little trio can combine to upset the bodily functions that most of us are usually lucky enough to be able to take for granted, resulting in a sluggish digestion.

Digestion is a complex physical process and when the digestive system gets out of synch, the whole body can feel its effects. Digestive troubles are far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers. That’s according to a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board. More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling and 42% suffered from constipation.

A sluggish digestion can quickly start to cause physical discomfort and even anxiety. So what can be done? We’ve pulled together our top tips for keeping things moving while you’re on the move.

Choose Well

Make healthy food choices - wherever possible – and make sure you drink lots. Water and diluted fruit juices are both excellent choices as they can quench your thirst and contribute towards good nutrition.

Keep Moving

Make sure that you factor in some daily exercise when your routine changes. Even while you’re travelling, it’s usually possible to move around from time to time. And something as simple as a brief stroll or a quick stretch really can work wonders.

Plan Ahead

Stock up on a selection of healthy, on-the-go snacks to take with you. Prunes, for example, are proven to promote healthy digestion. You can take the fruit with you, wherever you go. And the best news? Prunes are absolutely delicious!

Chill Out

Although it's not usually stress itself that causes health problems – like digestive issues - but how you handle that stress, it’s still important to find ways to unwind that work for you. Don’t forget to enjoy the journey!

Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health. Why not check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

And if you’re looking for more comprehensive info, you can download our Healthy Living Guide!

Bon Voyage!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Our Vanilla Mint Apples with Prunes make a sweet and scrummy treat!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 29, 2017

It can be nice to finish off a meal with something sweet. But, all too often, something sweet can mean lots of sugar, lots of fat and – unfortunately - lots of calories! Our Vanilla Mint Apples with Prunes are light, pretty and delicious and contain just 270 calories per serving.

Ingredients

2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 apples
1 vanilla bean
4 tbsp. sugar
4 mint leaves on stem
100 g Sunsweet prunes
2 egg yolks (size L)
1 heaped tsp. starch
275 ml milk
30 g Amaretti

Instructions

  1. Mix 375 ml water and 1 tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl. Peel apples, divide them by four and remove the core. Immediately place apple pieces in the lemon juice water mixture to prevent them from going brown.
  2. Split vanilla bean lengthwise into two halves. Scrape one of the pod halves with the unsharpened side of your knife. Bring 100 ml water, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 tbsp. sugar, vanilla seeds and the vanilla bean to a boil. Wash 3 mint leaves on the stem and add them to the syrup. Take apple quarters out of the lemon juice mixture and add them to the syrup. Sauté them for 12 minutes on low heat. For the last 3 minutes, add the prunes. Allow apples and prunes to cool off in the syrup. Remove mint stems and vanilla bean.
  3. For the vanilla sauce, scrape the second half of the vanilla bean. Whisk egg yolks, 2 tbsp. sugar, vanilla seeds and starch in a pot. Add milk while whisking the mixture and put vanilla bean in the sauce. Heat on medium temperature and stir well until the sauce gets slightly thick. Do not boil the sauce because otherwise it will clot. Allow to cool off.
  4. Serve apples and the prunes with vanilla sauce. Crumble Amaretti and sprinkle over the dish. Wash 1 stem of mint and remove the leaves. Garnish dessert with mint leaves and Amaretti crumbles.

Are you beach body ready?

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 22, 2017

Beach body ready. It’s a phrase that can strike fear into the hearts of the best of us! So, what’s the skinny? Are crash diets a no-no? The jury may still be out on crash diets. So is there a less drastic and more long-term approach that we can take?


Do crash diets work?

The jury is out on crash diets. One study of 200 obese adults, published in The Lancet, found that although crash-dieters did lose weight, the approach can be dangerous. That’s because it’s tricky to get all of the nutrients that the body needs when you significantly reduce food intake. So, this summer, why not take a less drastic and more long-term view?

Is there a different approach?

Overeating of any kind is likely to lead to weight gain. But research from Liverpool University suggests that eating 140-170g prunes daily, as part of a weight control diet, may have a positive contribution to weight loss.

Whether you’re at a music festival, having a picnic, on-the-road with the family or just going about your daily business, snacking is an inevitable part of contemporary life. It goes without saying that unhealthy snacks like crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks should be limited to being an occasional treat. But there is evidence to suggest that nutritious snacks can – and indeed should – form part of a healthy balanced diet.

What’s the science on snacking?

According to the Mayo Clinic, choosing healthy snacks can help to manage hunger and reduce the likelihood of bingeing at mealtimes. The trick is to choose snacks that are satisfying, nutritionally beneficial and relatively low in calories. Because prunes are a fruit - and so lower in energy density than many other snacking options – they can make a convenient, healthy choice when consumed as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle.

Why do we overeat?

Experts in psychology tend to agree that there can be a range of complex, emotional issues behind our propensity to overeat. Learning to tune in to your body and to identify what acts as a trigger for you may be enough for you to make the adjustments needed to reach a healthy weight and to stick to it, long term.

  1. Reason #1 You’re constantly on the runWhen life is busy and you’re regularly eating on-the-hoof - grabbing what you can, when you can – your eating patterns can end up muddled. You may not be able to remember the last time you sat down for a proper meal. But day-long snacking can prove surprisingly calorific! Try to take a more mindful approach. Plan ahead so you’ve got a more inspiring store-cupboard. Have a repertoire of recipes for simply-prepared dishes up your sleeve. And promise yourself that – from now on - you’ll take a little time out of your day to enjoy your meals.

  2. Reason #2 You’re craving something other than food

    Maybe you’re tired or stressed or both – it’s not uncommon with our hectic lifestyles, after all! Try to be aware of what’s going on for you. If you’re in need of comfort, try not to make food your first port of call. Call a friend. Get outside for a stroll. Give yourself a hand massage. Sometimes a little TLC can go a long way towards filling that gap.

Have a happy and healthy summer!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

Our Chorizo, Prawn and Prune skewers are a snazzy dish, just perfect for parties!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 15, 2017

When it comes to summer BBQ dishes, it can be nice to ring the changes. Our Chorizo, Prawn and Prune skewers are really easy to make but will add a touch of sophistication to your table. The skewers are perfect as an appetiser but – with a selection of salads – they’re substantial enough to serve as a main, too!

Ingredients

1 sweet potato (approx. 250 g)
Salt
175 g cream cheese
1 tbsp. Tahini
2-3 tbsp. lemon juice
¼ - ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
8 big prawns (for example tiger prawns, approx. 200 g)
2 tbsp. olive oil
100 g soft chorizo (Spanish sausage with peppers)
12 g Sunsweet prunes
Additional: 4 wooden skewers

Instructions

  1. Peel and cube the sweet potato for the dip. Boil in 100 ml water and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes until soft. Puree the sweet potato pieces in the water it is boiled in. Let puree cool.
  2. lix sweet potato puree with cream cheese, tahini and 2 tbsp. lemon juice. Season the dip with salt, cayenne and lemon juice if needed. Refrigerate.
  3. Put the wooden skewers in cold water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning on the grill. Peel prawns except for the tail. Cut lengthways and remove the intestines. Wash prawns, blot dry and coat in olive oil. Cut chorizo into 8 pieces. Thread 2 prawns, chorizo pieces and 3 prunes alternately onto each skewer. Grill on a hot BBQ for 4-6 minutes. Serve with sweet potato dip.

Summertime and the living is easy

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 08, 2017

Whether you’re celebrating Father’s Day with the extended family or the Solstice with a group of friends, summer weekends are a brilliant opportunity for catching up and chilling out. There’s one very simple trick that you can have up your sleeve, to ensure that you have as much fun during your get-togethers as your guests: advance planning!


Keep your menu simple

A showstopper dish – like a marinated whole chicken or a side of salmon with a herby crust - can be put in the oven and left to its own devices. And then around an hour before your meat or fish is ready, pop some baby new potatoes into the oven, too. Keep the potatoes whole and unpeeled and toss them in oil, herbs - rosemary works well – and a little sea-salt. Simple and delicious.

Enlist help

Guests often ask if they can bring something to gatherings so don’t be too shy to answer, “yes, please!”. Give each guest a theme, for a salad, and leave them to it. A green salad, maybe, or something tomato-based or involving mixed beans. You could even ask them to bring a fruit salad, for pudding. And – if they’re stuck - you can always signpost them to our recipe pages, for inspiration!

Keep everyone moving

A great way to break the ice at summer events – especially when there are little people involved – is to ask each family to share their favourite outdoor game idea. Tag. Hide and Seek. Pretty much anything involving bubbles or balloons. The fun factor will be boosted instantly. You’ll all work up an appetite for that yummy, healthy meal. And the kids will have bonded well enough to continue the fun, after the food, while the adults enjoy a well-deserved rest.

When it comes to summer celebrations, prunes are something of an unsung hero. And yet they can add a fruity scrumptiousness to a range of dishes and drinks. For sweet and savoury nibbles, think prunes baked with chorizo or – even simpler – flavoured mixed nuts (most supermarkets stock an interesting selection) combined with chopped prunes. As part of a fruity marinade or BBQ sauce, prunes add a rich flavour that complements a range of meat and fish and livens up grilled veggie kebabs. Prunes make a zingy addition to salads – both savoury and sweet. The fruit is the perfect partner for choc-themed puds – prune brownies, anyone? And prune juice makes a fabulously flavourful base for a range of drinks from smoothies to mocktails, from fruity cocktails that are strictly for the grown-ups to refreshing frozen treats that the whole family will love.

Our recipe pages are full of ideas for you to follow or be inspired by. And our comprehensive guide to entertaining is packed full of tips to help your summer celebrations sparkle!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.

A treat for the tum and the eyes. Our Fruity Pilaf with Prunes and Chicken Skewers is deceptively simple to make, too!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, May 25, 2017

Coming up with ideas for mid-week meals can be tricky and that’s where dishes like our Fruity Pilaf with Prunes and Chicken Skewers really come into their own. Quick to make, pretty to look at and super tasty, it’s sure to be loved by the whole family!

Ingredients

Ingredients (for 4): For the Chicken Skewers: You will need 4 metal skewers, at least 8 inches long
2 large free-range chicken breasts, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
100ml natural yoghurt
1 tbsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
Juice of 1 lemon
For the Rice Pilaf:
Large knob butter
1 medium onion, peeled, trimmed and finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seeds
120g fast cook brown basmati rice
500ml warmed chicken stock
6 ready-to-eat Prunes, roughly chopped
Large handful shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. First prepare the chicken skewers. Mix together the yoghurt, turmeric, chilli powder and lemon juice.
  2. Skewer ¼ of the chicken pieces onto each skewer, then place in a wide dish and cover with the marinade. Leave to one side while you prepare the rice.
  3. In a large heavy-based pan, melt the butter over the low heat, add the onion, stir well, and leave to sautee until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin and cumin seeds, and stir well for a moment to avoid sticking.
  4. Add the rice, mix thoroughly with the onion mixture, and leave for half a minute before adding the stock.
  5. Stir well, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover with a tight-fitting lid (otherwise place a sheet of foil over the top of the pot and secure the lid down on this – this will give you a snug-fitting lid).
  6. Leave to cook over the heat for 10 minutes, check to see if it needs more liquid, if it does add water, and then give it a further 5 minutes to sit, covered.
  7. While the rice is cooking, turn your grill up to high, place the chicken skewers underneath, discarding any excess marinade.
  8. Turn the skewers every 2 minutes or so, so that each side of the chicken cubes are evenly cooked through. When cooked, remove from the grill and set to one side.
  9. Remove the lid from the rice, and quickly fluff up the rice with a fork.
  10. Wait a moment for the steam to escape, then add the prunes, pistachio nuts and fresh herbs, and mix through well.
  11. Spoon the rice into a large, wide serving bowl and place the chicken skewers on top. Eat immediately. Serve with a crisp green salad.