There are, in fact, a range of ‘vegetables’ that are actually fruit. So how can you tell? Fruits and vegetables are defined differently, depending on whether you’re a gardener or a chef.
The Oxford Dictionary defines fruit as being developed from the ovary of a flowering plant, containing the seed of the flower.
The term ‘vegetable’ refers to the edible parts of plants, such as the roots, stems and leaves (think potatoes, celery and lettuce) and which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come.
Check these common stuff below:
The eggplant, while generally thought of as a vegetable, is actually a botanical fruit. Known in other countries as brinjal, aubergine, melongene, or guinea squash, the eggplant is recognized for its egg-shaped fleshy fruit however it is commonly eaten as a cooked vegetable.
Technically, cucumbers are fruit. As in the world of botany, the part of a plant that develops from the flower and bears the plant’s seeds are fruit, and cucumbers qualify on both counts.
A pumpkin is a fruit? Are we sure about that? That would mean pumpkin pie is a fruit pie. Doesn’t seem right. A check in the official dictionary, Webster’s New World College Dictionary (Fourth Edition), reveals this definition of pumpkin: A large, round, orange-yellow, edible fruit with many seeds.
And not only that, but pumpkin are berries as well. As, a berry is a “Fleshy fruit produced from a single ovary.”
The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Mexico and Central America, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado or alligator pear also refers to the fruit, botanically a large berry that contains a single seed.
Here also, capsicums/bell peppers are definitely a fruit: the plant flowers, its ovary swells and develops into the pepper body, which when you cut it open has seeds in it. In this way, bell peppers are like eggplants, tomatoes, apples, plantains, and pomegranates: they have seeds inside.
In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable; it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, zucchinis are fruits, a type of botanical berry, being the swollen ovary of the zucchini flower. Zucchini, like all squash, has its ancestry in the Americas.
In the extreme case of Nix vs. Hedden in 1893, a Supreme Court in the United States had to settle a case between a food importer and tax collector, who contested whether the tomato was a fruit or vegetable.
The importer wanted to label the tomato a fruit (which had a lower import tax) but the tax collector demanded that it be recognised as a vegetable.
Verdict: The court ruled that the tomato was most commonly known as a vegetable and should therefore be treated as such when imported.
Did you know that bananas are technically a herb?
Many people have no idea that bananas are technically both a herb and a fruit, grown on a banana plant not a tree.
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