Serving you with

the freshest news
Sunsweet is an agricultural cooperative

Sunsweet Prunes

Blog

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

Don’t let your travels upset your tum!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 27, 2018

With holiday season well under way, we’ve all heard our fair share of anecdotes about travellers’ tummy troubles. Each of them more “TMI” than the last. But did you know that, by following just a few simple steps, it’s possible to dramatically improve the chances of you – and your family - maintaining good digestive health while travelling?

Concerns about food safety issues and the likelihood of subsequent, unpleasant illness. The digestive system getting out of synch. And a relaxed family holiday, memorable for all the right reasons. Are these three things something of a paradox, perhaps, a contradiction in terms? Because a survey by CondéNet and the California Dried Plum Board, found that digestive health problems were far from uncommon amongst holiday-makers.

  • More than 75% experienced occasional digestive problems while traveling
  • 42% suffered from constipation

What causes ‘travelers’ tummy’?

When travelling, it’s important to be sensible and aware about food safety and health. But you need to balance this caution; becoming paranoid about every morsel could just as easily spoil your holiday!

Simple precautions include:

  • Checking if the local tap water is safe to drink. If in doubt, opt for bottled water.
  • Holding-off on ice cubes (salads, deserts and drinks) if you think the local water could be an issue.
  • Sticking to cooked food that has been freshly cooked and served piping hot.
  • Choosing the more popular cafes and restaurants; locals are likely to avoid the duds!
  • Using wipes and antibacterial gels - they can be really useful for keeping the family’s hands clean, when you’re on the go.

If you’re unlucky, don’t panic. Take in plenty of fluids. Chamomile and raspberry leaf tea are natural remedies that you can try, to gently relieve diarrhea. And crystallized ginger is said to help alleviate nausea.

And what about the opposite side of the coin, Constipation?

Letting healthy eating habits slip, while on the road. Grabbing convenience food and snacks that are far from optimum, nutritionally. Not getting enough sleep. Not getting enough to drink. Struggling to get used to dramatic changes in temperature. Finding it stressful, the whole experience of being away from home. Getting used to unfamiliar ingredients and new flavours. There are a whole host of reasons why the fine-tuning of the digestive system may end up a little out-of-whack.

"The disruption of one's normal routine/schedule is inevitable when one travels. But eating poorly is controllable by the individual. People really need to look at their food choices either while traveling or at home. They don't realize that there are simple preventative solutions which may help alleviate bouts of digestive discomfort that can occur on the road," says Leslie Bonci, M.P.H., R.D., director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Where possible, include plenty of fresh fruit and veg in your holiday diet. But make sure that you pack some non-perishable dried fruit, too – like Sunsweet prunes. Prunes are known to help maintain good digestive health. And the whole family will love their super-sweet flavour.

Good digestive health – it’s what we do!

At Sunsweet, we’re passionate about good digestive health and we’re more than delighted to share our expert insights. Check out our top four tips for good digestive health and Simple Health Tips for People on the Go.

And – for even more comprehensive info - why not 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.

Crunchy Asparagus Salad with Mozzarella

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 21, 2018

Every family should have a dish like this – that makes the most of scrummy, super fresh and seasonal veggies - in their recipe repertoire. Our Crunchy Asparagus Salad with Mozzarella makes for a fresh and tasty lunch or supper dish. It also makes a stunning and substantial side-dish that's just perfect for BBQs.

Ingredients

500 g green asparagus 
60 g sundried tomatoes (without oil) 
30 g pine nuts 
1 bunch of basil 
300 g baby spinach 
150 g California prunes 
4 tbsp. lemon juice
8 tbsp. olive oil 
1 tbsp. vinegar
Salt & pepper 
Fennel seeds, toasted and chopped 
300 g mini buffalo mozzarella 
Pine nuts for garnishing

Instructions

  1. Peel lower third of asparagus and remove ends. Then cut diagonally into 4 cm long pieces. Cube dried tomatoes. Coarsely chop pine nuts. Cut basil into strips and slice prunes. Clean and wash spinach.
  2. Blanch asparagus for about 4 minutes in salted water. Stir lemon juice and oil with vinegar, salt, pepper and fennel until smooth. Add asparagus, dried tomatoes and prunes and allow to soak through.
  3. Cut mozzarella into halves. Add spinach and basil to the asparagus and serve with mozzarella. Sprinkle with pine nuts.

Summertime and the living is easy

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 14, 2018

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.

There's lots to love about yoga!

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Whether you're a man or a woman, a child or a pensioner, whether you're looking for a strenuous workout or a more relaxing - even spiritual - practice, there's a style of yoga to suit you. And don't worry, uber-bendiness and hippy-print harem pants are optional. But the health benefits that you'll experience aren't. From boosting digestion to alleviating chronic conditions, there's lots to love about yoga!

International Yoga Day

The first UN International Yoga Day took place in 2015, in recognition of:

  • The holistic benefits of the practice and its compatibility with the principles and values of the United Nations
  • How crucial it is for us all to make healthy lifestyle choices and to develop habits that support our physical and emotional wellbeing

Will you be inspired by this year's event – on the 21st June – to give yoga a go?

History

The idea of an International Yoga Day was first mooted by the United Nations after a compelling proposal from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his proposal, Modi stated that, “Yoga is an invaluable gift from our ancient tradition. Yoga embodies unity of mind and body, thought and action ... a holistic approach [that] is valuable to our health and our well-being. Yoga is not just about exercise; it is a way to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature.”

The Health Benefits of Yoga

The World Health Organization has implored member states to take steps to address the growing inactivity of individual citizens – an unhealthy trend that is a key risk factor in diseases like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a non-profit committed to clinical practice, education and research - the potential health benefits of yoga include:

  • Stress reduction, a better night's sleep, improved mood and an enhanced sense of well-being
  • Improved fitness, balance, flexibility and strength
  • Management of chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure

Something for Everyone

Whatever your age or ability level, there's a yoga style and approach that is just right for you. From active kids who need an opportunity to wind down, after a hectic day juggling school, homework and after-school activities. To elderly people and those who are less mobile and would appreciate the mind, body and spirit benefits of a gentle armchair practice.

Here are a few of the more popular styles:

  • Hatha yoga is a foundation of all yoga styles and can be a good choice if you're looking to improve flexibility. It’s controlled breathing can help improve oxygenation of the body and alleviate stress.
  • Iyengar yoga: Using Props - belts, blocks and pillow-like bolsters – that assist with correct alignment, it is gentle and can work well for those with an injury or a chronic condition.
  • Ashtanga yoga can offer a new challenge for those who already have a decent level of fitness.
  • Bikram Toya: Bikram yoga is the favourite of anyone who loves to sweat! The poses are done in a heated room to facilitate the release of toxins and designed to provide a challenging, invigorating, rejuvenating yoga experience.

Whatever style you choose, an initial one-to-one session with an experienced teacher can be really worthwhile, to assess your unique needs and to get you off to the best possible start.

Find yourself a nearby class, get yourself signed up for a course and enjoy the sensations of lightness, ease and relaxation that will surely follow. Bliss!

PS If you're feeling inspired about getting your body moving, why not download our Healthy Living Guide? Good luck!

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.

Get Healthy. Get Motivated. Get Sociable.

Posted by Sunsweet - Friday, June 08, 2018

It’s the perfect time of year to establish those healthy foundations that will help you to sail through the winter. But if you're concerned about your resolve and motivation for regular exercise slipping, why not get a group of friends and family together?

Having the support of friends and family is a very strong motivator to lacing up those runners and to get going! Not only is being sociable written into our DNA but studies have found that exercising with a friend is more fun, helps you to stay in shape and gets you out of the house. A study of 1000 women found that 31 per cent consider their friends to be the motivation they need to stay in shape! And, what’s more, there can be a lot of truth in the cliché, “Friends and Families who play together, stay together”. So, when you consider the stats about how much more motivating it is to exercise with a buddy or two, it really does make sense to get a posse together. It’s all good - No excuse!

Four tips to getting a posse of friends together!

  1. Get sociable and start to recruit your motivator posse
  2. The school gates. The office. The gym. Your friends on Social media. These are all rich sources for members of your gang. In fact, anywhere is. Be inclusive. Ask people to invite a friend. And a friend of a friend. When it comes to your posse going, the more, the merrier!

  3. Get creative and brainstorm ideas for trips out and activities
  4. Perhaps there's a park near you, with a walking trail. (Tea room a bonus!). Zumba class, swimming, Yoga, boot camp, lunchtime or evening brisk walk, hiking, cycling, dance classes, Pilates. Or what about staging an old fashioned sports day in the local park? Rounders. Egg and spoon races. Tag. All excellent fun, whatever your age.

  5. Get picnicking
  6. There's something so scrumptious about food eaten out of doors, when you've done a bit of exercise to work up a healthy appetite! Check out our recipes pages for yummy and portable, prune-related ideas.

  7. Get planning
  8. When are you going to meet? Every month? Every fortnight? Every week? Get some dates in the diary. Make sure that you're all committed to sticking to those dates. After all, a few spots of rain never hurt anybody!

Carpe Diem

Autumn is the perfect time of the year to establish some solid foundations – around diet and exercise and all-round healthy living – that will help to see you glide, effortlessly and healthily, through the long, winter months ahead. What’s more, there are often a few quieter weeks to be savoured, in the Autumn - a welcome little breathing space between the stresses and strains of our summer travels and the coming chaos of all-things Christmas.

So, with a little help and motivation from our friends, the perfect time is right now to, Seize the Moment!

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

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, June 07, 2018

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.

The benefits of a well-stocked store cupboard

Posted by Sunsweet - Wednesday, June 06, 2018

When you’re trying to make healthy choices around food, a little advance planning can go a long way. With a well-stocked fridge and store-cupboard and a repertoire of tasty, healthy and simple-to-prepare dishes up your sleeve, you won’t go too far wrong!


Temptation can be so hard to resist – especially when you’re feeling both tired and hungry. And that’s where healthy snacking comes into its own. Factoring in small snacks between meals can help to keep your appetite in check, your hunger satisfied, and help you to make healthier mealtime choices. Try to have a few healthy, grab-and-go options close to hand. Dried fruit – like SUNSWEET prunes - can be stashed in your desk drawer, your bag or your car’s glovebox so that you’re never too far away from a tasty treat.

Meals that Matter

Breakfast

It’s often described as the most important meal of the day. But it’s a meal that – when you’re up against it, time-wise – can all too often get skipped. Smoothies are the perfect solution for a speedy and nutrition-packed breakfast. Check out our recipe ideas for flavour combos that will suit the faddiest of eaters. And – if you’re really pushed for time – decant your smoothie into a travel cup and sip it on the run.

Lunch

Soup really is the ultimate lunch. Choose your recipe wisely and it’ll go a long way towards your 5-a-day. And, if you’ve a fussy eater in the family, soup can be buzzed super-smooth to surreptitiously deliver those nutrient-packed veggies. Why not take a look at our recipe pages? Most of our soups can be kept in the fridge for a few days or can even be frozen, for another time. Making friends with batch-cooking can be a great way to ensure that a healthy family meal is only ever a matter of minutes away.

Dinner

For mid-week meals, one-pot recipes really come into their own. You could prep the meal together, as a family, to boost that sense of connectedness. The tiniest of tots can wash veg, at the kitchen sink. And then - once your meal is prepped and popped into the oven – you’ll have a nice big chunk of quality time to enjoy together while the enticing aroma of dinner surrounds you.

Bon appetit!

Why not give prunes a go?

Did you know that prunes are surprisingly versatile? They can be used to add a nutritious boost to a variety of family meals - sweet and savoury – and their flavour adds both depth and richness. Try some of our delicious recipes!

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.

Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicle

Posted by Sunsweet - Friday, June 01, 2018

Scrummy ice cream and the warm summer sun: they really are a match made in heaven. But is it possible to enjoy healthier frozen treats – that are significantly lower in both sugar and fat – without compromising on taste? We think so! Say “hello sunshine” to our Creamy Vanilla Prune Popsicles.

Ingredients

10 SUNSWEET prunes
4 tablespoons hot water
2 cups 2% plain yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, puree SUNSWEET prunes and hot water until smooth. Add in yogurt, honey, vanilla and pulse until combined.
  2. Spoon mixture evenly into 6 popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  3. Optional: Add a layer of granola in the middle of each popsicle.

Our Spicy Cranberry Prune Mocktail is a delicious drink with a real sense of occasion!

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 19, 2018

The flavours of ginger and lime combine to add zing to this delicious mocktail. The whole family are sure to love this non-alcoholic Spicy Cranberry Prune Mocktail. It’s a delicious drink with a real sense of occasion. Serve over ice, in your prettiest glasses, and let the good times roll!

Ingredients

100 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
200-250 g crushed ice
200 ml Sunsweet prune juice
200 ml cranberry juice
4-8 teaspoons lime juice
200-300 ml ginger lemonade
(alternative: mix ginger ale either with 1-2 tbsp. ginger juice or 1 tablespoon grated ginger)

For decoration:
1 piece (approx. 3-4 cm) ginger root

In addition:
4 long drink glasses
4 long thick straws

Instructions

  1. Divide raspberries and crushed ice into 4 portions in long drink glasses. Mix prune juice, cranberry and lime juice, and pour them into glasses. Fill with ginger lemonade. Stick straws in the glasses. If desired, wash ginger, cut it into 4-8 slanting thin slices and add as decoration. Serve immediately.

Cocktail variant: add 20-40 ml gin.

Make friends with technology

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, April 19, 2018

In the last decade, our use of the internet has skyrocketed. It’s been blamed for many things including our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. And yet it remains a significant part of our everyday lives despite all of the negative and downright fear-mongering headlines. But can technology actually have a role to play, in helping us to create balanced, happy and healthy lives?

Despite being a huge part of modern lives, the online world often gets a bad rap. If you believe what you read in the press, we’ve replaced couch potato habits for mouse potato habits – equally sedentary and unhealthy - and spend every spare moment surfing the net. Social media – in all its iterations - has been blamed for poor body image and low self-esteem across the entire range of demographic groups. And there seems to be a grain of truth behind the fear.

In England alone, according to the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, people now spend twice as much time online compared with 10 years ago and it would be safe to assume that it is a similar story all across Europe. Much of that time, of course, is spent immobile. And stats from the medical journal, The Lancet, suggest that inadequate exercise is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year. Sobering stuff.

But is there a silver lining to the techno cloud?

At its very best, the internet offers a diverse resource of up-to-date, educational material that is both entertainingly written and accessible. Much of it is absolutely free. And our blog, of course, is an excellent example! Whether you choose apps or websites, social media or online newsletters, there’s lots of content out there to support you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle. Check out our top 3 techno tips, be selective and get informed.

  1. Newsletters – Choose reputable sources

    Sign up to a couple of lifestyle-related online newsletters. Choose ones from trusted sources, that cover topics that interest you – info overload is not our goal, here – and get inspired with everything from recipes for healthy and speedy mid-week dinners to tips on keeping active, whatever the time of year.

  2. Workout Videos Online

    Don't let good habits around physical activity slip. It’s far better to maintain an exercise programme throughout the year so that it becomes just another part of your daily routine, something that’s as automatic as brushing your teeth. And this is another area where technology can be your ally. Whatever form of exercise you enjoy – from boxercise to yogalates – you’ll be sure to find an online workout that floats your boat. Bung a one-pot-wonder into the oven – remember to keep things healthy! – and, while it cooks, pop on your workout video of choice and get moving.

  3. Monitoring Fitness Progress

    Whether it’s monitoring your daily calorie intake with sophisticated food diaries, tracking your levels of physical activity, learning relaxation techniques like mindfulness or even keeping an eye on your menstrual cycle, there’s an app for that! Speaking to Fox News, Scott Snyder – an innovator in the field – said, “The ultimate goal of most of these apps is to change behaviour. Small changes are a big overall win for health.” We couldn’t agree more!

As with most things, getting a good balance is crucially important. Everything in moderation – including technology – and you won’t go far wrong!

Looking for more inspiration? Why not check out our Healthy Living Guide?

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.