This question always rises when people talk about tomatoes, or also avocados.

First theory on whether a plant is a fruit or not,  is if it grows on trees or bushes… which if you think about it is quite plausible, but there is more than that.

Technically a:

  • Vegetable is a plant cultivated for an edible part, such as the root of the beet, the leaf of spinach, or the flower buds of broccoli or cauliflower. Higher on starch and a low on fructose (not sweet)
  • Fruit comes from a seed, it cannot be formed without pollination of a flower and it is higher on fructose (makes them sweet)

If you are speaking in a botanical, scientific context, then pumpkin, tomato, capsicum, cucumber, tomato and squash are FRUITS because they all have seeds. If you are speaking in culinary terms, they can all be properly called VEGETABLES.

Euler diagram by Nidhi Raizada

Fruit Vegetable Formulas

Seed + sweet = fruit

Seed + savory = culinary vegetable

No seed + savory= vegetable

No seed + sweet= culinary fruit

Culinary fruits

Any sweet, edible part of a plant that resembles fruit, even if it does not develop from a floral ovary or seed, is known as culinary fruit. Many culinary fruits including Figs, Pineapple, and Strawberries are not fruits in the strict botanical sense. Because to plant a pineapple you need the top leaves and to plant strawberries you need the spores, which are not seeds.

Culinary vegetables

Referred to as vegetable because of the savory taste, but classified as fruit because of the seeds : bell peppers,  corn kernels, pea pods, tomato, avocado.

Mushrooms are fungi, not herbaceous plants; they are considered vegetables due to their savory taste.


5 thoughts on “FRUIT OR VEG?

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