Have you ever gotten in an argument about whether something is a fruit or a vegetable? You’re not alone and we’re here to clear the air:
Fruits are defined as the part of the plant that develops from a flower ovary, and the part of the plant that contains the seeds, whereas vegetables are the remaining parts of the plant: the stems, leaves, and roots. So while looks and flavours can be deceiving in the gastronomic world, many of the fruits that you consider vegetables are simply not vegetables at all!
Can you differentiate between a fruit and a vegetable?
Here is a list of “vegetables” that are actually fruits:
1. Avocado, the buttery, rich superfood, is not only a fruit but actually a berry! Berries are derived from an ovary of a single flower, in which the ovary wall’s outer layer develops into an edible fleshy fruit. While guacamoles remain irresistible, the next time you’re presented with an avocado, embrace it in sweeter dishes.
2. From runner beans, to English peas, to snap peas, all of these podded beans are technically fruits. The succulent beans are the seeds, and the crisp, refreshing snap of the pods is the fruit.
3. Eggplant, the sordid phallic symbol you see on Snapchat, isn’t a vegetable! Despite eggplants being incorporated mostly in savoury, cheesy dishes, its fleshy texture and seeds make it a fruit—botanically a berry—as well.
4. Squashes come in all sorts, including pumpkins and zucchinis. These plump vegetable-like heavyweights come in all sizes, flavours, and textures. That 800-pound pumpkin you see at the pumpkin patch during Halloween is really just one colossal fruit.
5. There’s nothing quite like dipping a fresh bell pepper in hummus. The sharp, yet crisp and refreshing flavours of peppers make it a highly versatile ingredient. These colourful vessels are filled with seeds, making it a definite fruit.
6. Did you know that cucumbers are melons with 95% water content? That’s an even higher water content than its cousin, the watermelon. But like the sweeter watermelon, it’s full of seeds and the product of a flower ovary. The next time you think of opting for a quenching, refreshing fruit, think of cucumbers!
7. Olives are essentially the core of Mediterranean cuisine. Olives grow on a flowering tree and are known for its aromatics, flavours, and benefits. Naturally bitter, olives are often fermented or cured to make it palatable; it’s definitely hard to link the enriched salty flavour with a sweet, juicy fruit.
8. Tomatoes are probably the very foundation of the fruit-or-vegetable debate. Although it is often used in savoury dishes, this superfood is definitely a fruit, or specifically, a berry!
How many of these did you already know are fruits? Let us know your favourite way of preparing these vegetable-like fruits!