A prune by any other name | Bleader

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A prune by any other name

Posted By on 04.12.07 at 11:18 AM

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Maybe you've noticed this already, but Sunsweet, the world's largest handler of dried tree fruits (according to their site), has started to abandon the connotative mess that is the word "prune" for..."dried plums." Sounds better, doesn't it?

The immediate associations for the word "prune" in this country seem to be with punchlines in geriatric humor rather than with anything food-based, like a traditional stuffing for pork. But prunes are currently in the spotlight that hits products (oat bran, red wine) as their health benefits become faddish or suddenly obvious or both. In our boomery country, a fruit with extraordinarily high antioxidant levels and the ability to keep you regular is suddenly chic. But what to do with that word? 

There hasn't been a wholesale changeover in terminology, but I just saw a Sunsweet ad that never mentioned the word "prune" that I could tell, even though it still says "prune" on the bottom of the package; on the top it's "dried plums." (Apparently there are also other versions of the ad in which someone asks, “When’s the last time you had a prune?...If you think a prune is a prune, you haven’t tried new Sunsweet Ones!") And Sunsweet's new juice product is called PlumSmart, although they're still producing regular old stodgy-sounding Prune Juice as well.

Plum. Why--that's a J.Crew color, isn't it? A hair dye? That nice professor in Clue? A pretty purple-y thing? P.G. Wodehouse? No prunes for me--I think I'll have a dried plum!

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