Plums and greengages are wholesome fruits when they are wholly ripe; but they remain fresh for only a short time, and are often on that account picked and sent to market in an unripe condition, in which they are very indigestible, and are prone to excite diarrhoea and intestinal colic.


Prunes or dried plums are obtainable in various forms and sold in large masses like dates, or preserved individually in jars, in which form they have the advantage of keeping well for a long period. They contain a large percentage of sugar. They have a distinctly laxative effect, eaten raw or, preferably, stewed, and they are very wholesome and useful in cases of chronic constipation. They are comparatively inexpensive, and by some patients may be taken two or three times a day. They have a good effect in regulating the bowels in children, and three or four prunes given once or twice a day between meals will sometimes prove quite sufficient for this purpose.

Prunelles are sold in masses dried like dates. They have a pleasant acid flavour, but are not very digestible.

Olives are eaten for their agreeable flavour and their nutrient value, which is due to the oil they contain. (See Olive Oil.) They are much eaten as a relish, either plain or stuffed with peppers, and are used for garnishing salads, sauces, etc. About seventy varieties are now grown in California. They may be eaten fresh with bread in the warm countries where they grow, but they are too bitter for most palates, and are usually preserved by soaking respectively in (a) strong lye, (b) fresh water, and (c) salt solution, and are left in the latter for preservation. The lye neutralises their bitter taste. In Greece dried olives are much eaten. The composition of the ash of California olives presents, among other ingredients, 60 per cent of potash, 16 per cent of lime, and 8.3 per cent of phosphoric acid.

Composition of Pickled Ripe and Green Olives (C. B. Smith and F. Langworthy)


Fats (oil).


Protein, ash, etc.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Per cent.

Pickled ripe olives





Pickled green olives