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Taste test: Pitted prunes

Prunes might have a better reputation if they were called dried plums. Either way, they can be made into a nutritional, healthy snack. And, as one of our judges pointed out, they can be an especially good friend while traveling. Taster's Choice tried six different brands and discovered that prunes aren't only good for us — but they taste pretty good, too!

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/Score (out of 100) Hannaford/ 72 Publix/ 54 Del Monte/ 47
How'd it look? Slightly mangled and irregular shaped. Like dark little circles. Like an atomic raisin. Flat, like hunks of plum. "Dark, like the prune has a score to settle," said one judge. Plump, perfectly formed. Like raisins on steroids.
Judges' comments These are nice, soft, award-winning prunes. "They are gentle, with a classic prune taste," said one judge. Moist with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Another said he liked the mushy texture and the not-too-sweet taste, suggesting the prunes would be especially good in a chicken or pork dish. Chewy and slightly briny, like they soaked in a salt bath. Tough, a bit like rawhide, according to one panelist, although he liked the strong plum flavor. Another judge described the texture as velvety and pleasing. Soft and moist, but a bit stringy for some judges. The flavor was strong and fruity.
Would they buy? All four judges said yes. Three of the four judges said yes. One of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information $3.59 for a 24-ounce package at Sweetbay $3.59 for a 24-ounce package at Publix Widely available. $3.63 for an 18-ounce package at Publix
Also sampled: Nature's Place Organic ($2.53 for a 9-ounce package at Publix, 45 points); Sunsweet ($1.97 for a 9-ounce package at Wal-Mart, 41 points); and Great Value ($1.92 for a 12-ounce package at Wal-Mart, 38 points).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; and Times food critic Laura Reiley. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, St. Petersburg Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or e-mail them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Taste test: Pitted prunes 04/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 4:30am]
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