How do you tell a Fruit from a Vegetable?

We are familiar with the term "fruit & vegetables", but how many of us know what actually defines whether what you pick up at the grocery store is a fruit or a vegetable?

Some have been determined by none other than the United States Supreme Court (who did get it wrong, botanically speaking), for some it really depends what part of the world you live in, for others it is just a case of whether it is sweet or savoury.


We found a few botanical definitions, however even these can be turned on their head if you eat avocados and live in Brazil. Read on to find out more and post us your comments about vegetables that are fruits or vice a versa where you live.

We decided to look at what makes a fruit or a vegetables as while our site is called "Eat the Veggies!" we like eating fruit too and finding ways of getting more fruit into our kids' diets.

Fruit & Vegetables have atleast 4 definitions (botanical, culinary or legal!):

  • Fruit (botanical): the ovary of a seed-bearing plant,
  • Fruit (culinary): any edible part of a plant with a sweet flavor,
  • Vegetable: any edible part of a plant with a savory flavor.
  • Vegetable (legal): commodities that are taxed as vegetables in a particular jurisdiction

In general fruits and vegetables are classified as such so when you go shopping, you do not find a fruit in the vegetable section and vice versa.

Did you know that the botanical definition of a fruit also covers all those plants that produce poisonous fruits, not that these get sold by your local green grocer.

Apples, oranges, plums, peaches and bananas are definitely fruits, while eggplants, tomatoes and bell peppers are fruits, we think of them as vegetables, probably because they have more of a savoury flavour.


Where a fruit is a vegetable or a vegetable is a fruit:

The US Supreme Court ruled in 1893 that a tomato was a vegetable, so got taxed as a vegetable, yes, even vegetables cannot escape tax. The court did recognise that techically speaking a tomato is a fruit, but for taxable purposes it had to be a vegetable, so this is why we all get so confused.

In Brazil and even some people I know in Singapore eat avocados with sugar or in a milk shake, yet most of us would eat them with a vinaigrette or in a salad or if you live in Mexico as a dip with nachos and cheese.

One thing I just couldn't get my head around was eating corn in creme brulee or red beans in ice cream or desserts - but then if I wasn't brought up to enjoy them in that manner, why would I?


Confusion on fusion?

In this day, or infact for a good many years now, the trendiness of "fusion" cooking has confounded the confusion even more and here we find ourselves throwing fruit and flower leaves into salads (and don't they taste nice and I don't just mean chopped apple in coleslaw with mayonnaise ;) ), we scatter basil leaves and balsamic vinegar on raspberries and now on this site, we create and find recipes to hide vegetables in cookies, cakes, desserts, breads as well as savoury dishes.


How do you eat your veggies, or fruit for that matter?



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Recipes Highlights

Summer bean salad

A hearty & wholesome bean salad, served with crunchy carrots, semi sundried tomatoes, char grilled artichokes, olives & fresh herbs. This salad is packed with protein, fibre, antioxidants & vitamins. Beans contain essential nutrients such as calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, folate & alpha-linolenic acid..


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Just for fun

Children’s Veggie Excuse Me’s

“I don’t like the green bits”
“Where’s th
e cheese?”
“I’m too f
ull, please can I have dessert”
“I didn’t want this for dinner”
“My brother said it tastes bad, so I don’t want to eat it”
“I am not supposed to eat this today”
“I think the cat licked my plate”


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