The Agen prune is the dried fruit from Ente plum, a variety of cultivated plum. According to the horticultural engineer Hubert Caillavet, this variety was introduced at the time of the Crusades and is originating in China.
Culture of Ente plum was developed by the Benedictines using the grafting method. Besides, the name "Ente", from Old French "enter" meaning "piggyback", comes from this technique.
The process of drying prunes would have been developed by the monks of the abbey of Clairac (between the towns of Agen and Villeneuve). This method is generally performed in bread ovens or directly in the sun.
From prunes to Agen prunes
The name "Agen prunes" is a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication). Thus, only the Ente prunes harvested in the region formed by 118 cantons of 6 French southwestern departments can benefit from this appellation. These include fruits from the area formed by the Lot-et-Garonne, Gironde, Gers, Lot, Dordogne and Tarn-et-Garonne.
The harvest of prunes usually takes place between mid-August and mid-September. After picking, fruits are soaked in water to remove the leaves. After sorting and calibration, Ente prunes are deposited on trays which are stacked on each other. Selected prunes then go into a furnace to get Agen prunes. After drying, they retain about 21% water and can be stored up to 3 years. They will be rehydrated to contain up to 35% water before being marketed.
Delices and Gourmandises : Agen prunes, your health allies
Professionals recommend Agen prunes to pregnant women and sportsmen since these fruits contain beta-carotene, potassium, boron, iron, magnesium and significant amounts of vitamin E.
Agen prunes active ingredients help to fight against aging, promote bone formation, preserve bone mass and bridge the iron deficiency, especially for pregnant women.
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