Here's What You Can Substitute For Prunes

It's unfortunate prunes get a bad rap. Despite the sweet taste and the immense amount of health benefits, prunes are still sometimes stigmatized and associated with constipation and snacks for caricatured senior citizens. 

Of course, prunes have a vast amount of positive aspects. The Spruce Eats details that, on top of a commonly known attribute as a laxative, the plum relative boasts plenty of other health benefits, from high levels of potassium and vitamin K (great for bone health) to the ability to break down carbohydrates. But maybe you don't have any prunes on hand or simply don't like them. What else can do all that and still maintain that sweet taste? According to the same article, figs are the best option. While raisins, dates, apricots, or any number of other dried fruits will also function, dried figs are the closest in sweetness. Especially if you're looking for a like-minded healthy snack.

Figs not only have a similar level of sweetness for the palate, but the BBC's Good Food blog cites that figs also have the same vitamins A and K, plus loads of potassium that actually helps to lower blood pressure. They're also a good source of prebiotics that can improve gut health.

Apricots are another great substitute for prunes

While figs are an excellent substitute for prunes as far as snacks go, Gourmet Sleuth suggests that, for cooking, you may be better off swapping in a distant cousin of the prune: the apricot.

Dried apricots and prunes not only share similar past lives as larger, fleshier fruits, but even in their dried states, they're more compatible than you might think. The culinary site U Cook offers up a danish recipe that calls for either dried apricots or prunes. Because of their similar size and properties, they both take the same amount of time to cook. 

Apricots may not have the same exact health benefits as prunes, but they do boast a fair amount of positive attributes, too. Healthline states that, like their purple relative, apricots are high in potassium and antioxidants, and also full of vitamin A. Apricots can even be beneficial in terms of skincare according to the article. Ironically, this wrinkly little dried fruit offers a good amount of vitamins C & E, which may protect against pollutants and even prevent your skin from wrinkling.

As much as prunes are a great source of flavor and a fantastic way to make your diet even healthier, try apricots or figs if you want a good swap.