You can count on a good meal if you celebrate today’s food holiday. October 17 is National Four Prunes Day!
What an odd holiday this one is. Why four prunes? Why not three or five? Why not Eat A Prune? We’ve always been very specific in the rules of this challenge, stating that we need only take a single bite in order for it to count (though most times we eat the whole thing). But if we have to eat four prunes, does that mean we’re stuck with four bites? Or do we literally have to eat four prunes each? Or four prunes together? To simplify matters we considered celebrating the other food holiday today, National Pasta Day. But we just had a National Noodle Day, so…
(As it turns out, we ended up celebrating both food holidays today. Tara and I met up for lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory. She got ravioli, I ordered spaghetti with Italian sausage. But the focus of the blog today is on prunes).
Actually, further research shows the reason for four prunes. As this blog post (and other scientific articles) states, doctors recommend eating four prunes a day to slow the aging process of the body and brain. Ahh. I’m all about living longer, so bring on the prunes!
Prunes get a bad rap due to their high fiber content. In other words, they make you poop! Because of this, they have been rebranded “dried plums” in recent years, which makes sense seeing that they are dried plums. But I think this is silly. There’s nothing wrong with the name prune, and if it’s associated with constipation relief, so be it. They are considered nutritional superstars, and are high in antioxidants, vitamin A, potassium, and iron. Prunes are native to Western Asia, but eventually spread through Europe and the Balkan Islands. They were introduced to North America by Louis Pellier, a Frenchman whose mining operation during the Gold Rush of 1848 was a bust. After finding no gold in them thar hills, Pellier purchased a plot of farmland in the Santa Clara Valley and planted plum trees in 1856. The plum industry took off, and by the mid 1880s, Pellier and others were looking for ways to expand business. Dried plums were a hit in Europe and were being imported at the rate of 22,000 tons a year, so focus shifted to growing them here. And the rest is high fiber history.
I love prunes. In school, my classmates would always give me their stewed prunes at lunch. I could never figure out why they’d pass on such a delicious and sweet part of the meal! I also enjoyed drinking prune juice because I liked the flavor. I guess I’m odd that way. The bottom line is, celebrating this holiday was a breeze. For me, anyway. I had my four prunes for breakfast. Tara was less enthused, but also took part. She liked them more than she thought she would.