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

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.

Is five-a-day still enough? When it comes to fruit and veg, more is definitely more.

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 15, 2018

With scientific studies now suggesting that five-a-day may no longer be enough, how can we ensure that our family are getting the fruit and veg that they need, for optimum health, while keeping things interesting – and tasty – at mealtimes?

Summer is a great opportunity to finally step into the sunny season with confidence, positivity and gratitude. Phew! And the perfect fuel for all of that? Delicious fruit and veg and plenty of it!

So, is five-a-day still enough?

Based on the World Health Organisation's recommendations, the five-a-day fruit and veg guidelines were introduced in 1990 with the aim of lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Almost a third of us struggle to regularly get our five-a-day. But a 12-year study, 2001 – 2013, by University College London has found that we may benefit from actually doubling-up on the official guidelines and aiming for ten portions of fruit and veg a day instead, to significantly lower the risk of premature death. The study’s lead author, Dr Oyinlola Oyebode, went on record to say: “The clear message here is that the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the less likely you are to die at any age. My advice would be however much you are eating now, eat more.”

Variety – the spice of a healthy life

Whether your fruit and veg is tinned, fresh, frozen or dried – like scrummy Sunsweet prunes – it all counts towards your five-a-day. Great news, especially if you're aiming for the more ambitious ten daily portions! The trick is to keep things interesting, so that you and your family don't get bored. And a really great way to do that is to try – for as many of your meals as possible – to have a seasonable focus to the ingredients that you choose.

Did you know that just three prunes count for one of your daily portions? This is great news, especially if you're aiming for the more ambitious ten daily portions! The trick is to keep things interesting, so that you and your family don't get bored. A really great way to do that is to try – for as many of your meals as possible – to have a seasonable focus to the ingredients that you choose. Our recipes pages have lots of inspirational breakfast, mains, salads, desert & sweet treats, salads etc ideas to help you on your way.

Seasonable Treats

With the changing of the seasons, there's something lovely about taking advantage of the natural diversity – the flavours, the textures, the scents and the colours – of seasonable foods. And it's a great way for you and your family to ring the changes at meal-times and to try lots of different foodstuffs throughout the year. Wild garlic, morels and salad staples like spring onions, watercress and rocket are all excellent at this time of the year and make superb foundations for the lighter dishes of springtime as we naturally gravitate away from winter stodge. And if you're feeling inspired by all-things seasonable, why not try growing your own?

Grow your own!

Growing your own is easier than you might think. Vegetable gardening – with a raised bed or even just a handful of pots – is a great excuse to get the whole family out into the fresh air. And eating healthful foods - that you have watched grow from seed – can help to tempt even the fussiest of eaters into trying new things. There really is something magical – for kids of all ages – in the transformation from seeds to shoots to something scrummy. Salads are a super-simple starting point. A sunny spot. Plenty of water. And you really can't go wrong.

And finally...

You can check out Sunsweet's eco credentials, here:

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.

Can you boost your chances of avoiding winter bugs?

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, March 01, 2018

This year, is it possible to avoid all those dreaded winter bugs? Maybe by getting back to basics - with plenty of hearty and nourishing food, lots of exercise and good, old-fashioned rest and relaxation, you might just be able to give you and your family a fighting chance!

So what do you reckon? Do you think it’ll be possible this year for you and your family to avoid all those dreaded winter bugs? We’re not going to make any promises but maybe by getting back to basics with plenty of hearty and nourishing food, lots of exercise - ideally out of doors – and good, old-fashioned rest and relaxation, you might just be able to give you and yours a fighting chance!

At this time of year, it can be tempting to set your sights high when it comes to lifestyle changes. New Year’s Resolutions can be a bit of fun. But – even if you take them seriously - they can be notoriously tricky to stick to. And who wants to kick off the New Year feeling as though they have let themselves down? A broader set of intentions around diet, exercise and emotional wellbeing may prove to be more beneficial, in the long run.

Fuelling your body with nutritious home-cooking

Life is busy. After a long day, and despite the best of intentions, it can be hard to find the motivation to eat well. It’s all too easy to grab something that’s convenient - but low in nutrition - and wind up with even lower energy levels. But that’s where just a little bit of forward planning can really come into its own. Investing a couple of hours of your time to batch cook and then freeze a range of soups and stews, for example, is an excellent way to create “ready-meals” that pack a nutritious punch. And if you have a few temptingly tasty one-pot recipes up-your-sleeve, you can prep dinner, pop it in the oven and then wrap up warm and buzz out for a quick walk while it’s cooking!

Snack wisely

Snacking is a part of modern life but it’s worthwhile remembering that not all snacks are created equal! When you’re famished, there’s nothing quicker than grabbing a handful of prunes to munch on. And did you know that prunes are a source of vitamin B6, which helps to support a healthy immune system?

Getting out into the fresh air

The weather outside may, indeed, be frightful but exercising outside is so delightful. Trust us! There’s something about bundling up and heading off for a walk on a wintry day that really helps to lift the spirits. And there’s a scientific basis for that; a combination of fresh air and the increased oxygen levels that follow exercise helps to release serotonin, the feel-good chemical.

Learning how to relax

Stress can be as bad for your body as it is for your head. But in these super-busy times, stress can feel almost inevitable. And so it’s worthwhile having a few tried and trusted techniques to hand, for when the pressure starts to mount. The evidence may be anecdotal but a link between heightened stress levels and a depleted immune system seems logical. So practice mindfulness, walk with a friend, enjoy a soak in the bath, cook a delicious meal for you and a loved one – whatever helps you to relax!

So this year, resolve to have a healthy, happy and active winter. Enjoy!

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.