Fruit or Vegetable?


We’re told to eat our fruits and vegetables, but exactly what is a fruit and what is a vegetable? The grocery store definition of  fruit is that it is sweet and typically eaten raw but not typically cooked or used in salads–these would be vegetables. This definition classifies tomatoes and cucumbers as vegetables.

However, the botanical definition of fruit is: the sweet ripened ovary of a seed bearing plant.

There is no botanical category of vegetable. The dictionary definition of vegetable is: a general herbaceous plant grown for its edible part namely the seeds, stalks, roots, stems, leaves, or bulbs. And so, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, avocados, and peppers are actually fruit!

We don’t think of these things as fruit because they aren’t sweet or as sweet as things we consider fruit — apples, grapes, oranges, melons. Most fruits are sweet because they contain fructose, vegetables are less sweet because they have much less fructose. The sweetness of fruit serves a purpose. It encourages animals to eat it and thereby spread the seeds.



  1. Interesting! I always knew that tomatoes were controversial (whether they were a fruit or veggie), but who knew about cucumbers, peppers, squash and avocados!?? Thanks for the info!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: