What makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable?

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Fruits and vegetables are classified from both botanical and culinary standpoints.

Botanically speaking, fruits are edible seed-bearing structures that develop from the ovary of a flowering plant. Vegetables are all other edible plant parts such as leaves, roots, and stems. Fruit is a scientific term. Vegetable is a term rooted in cultural and culinary tradition. Fruits can be vegetables, but vegetables cannot be fruits.

Seedy foods such as oranges, apples, and tomatoes are all considered fruits, while root, leaf, and stem foods such as potatoes, lettuce, and celery are all vegetables.

Tomato fruit
Seven pieces of fruit

From a culinary perspective, fruits and vegetables are categorized based on taste. Fruits are generally sweet or sour in flavor and are used in desserts and juices. On the other hand, vegetables have a more savory taste and are usually eaten as part of the main course or side dish.

The fruit vs. vegetable debate got so intense in 1893 that the Supreme Court had to step in. In the Nix. v. Hedden case, the court unanimously ruled that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable, rather than as a lower taxed fruit. The court acknowledged that a tomato is technically a botanical fruit, but said the “ordinary” definition was that a tomato was a vegetable.

INTERESTING FACTS
  1. One strawberry has about 200 seeds on it.
  2. An apple tree can produce over 300 apples per year.
  3. Tomatoes are the worlds most popular fruit.
  4. Kiwi contains more vitamin C than oranges.
  5. Durian (a.k.a. the king of fruits) is by far the smelliest fruit in the world.
INTERESTING VIDEO

INTERESTING REFERENCES
  1. LiveScience.com – What’s the Difference Between a Fruit and a Vegetable?
  2. MentalFloss.com – What’s the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?
  3. HuffingtonPost.com.au – 15 Surprising Facts (And Tips) About Fruit And Veggies

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