Don’t fruits just make life better? I mean, vegetables. I mean fruits! Or both. But which is which? Fruits are usually sweet, refreshing, and tasty. But then cucumbers and avocados are fruits. It’s not your fault if you are confused.
As it turns out, the classification under ‘fruit or vegetables’ varies depending on what standpoint we are talking from. So, what a gardener considers a fruit, the chef may consider it a vegetable.
So, botanically speaking, fruits are seed-bearing structures that develop from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as leaves, roots, and stems. Basing the classification on these standards, seedy outgrowths like squash, apples, and tomatoes are all fruits, whereas leaves such as spinach, kale and lettuce, roots such as potatoes, beets, and turnips, and stems including celery and broccoli are all vegetables.
Nevertheless, culinary terms tell a different story. Many foods that are considered fruits according to botanically standards, but which are savory rather than sweet, are considered vegetables by chefs. This includes tomatoes, eggplants, and bell peppers. For more, the word “vegetable” is actually not a scientific term at all. It’s a culinary term. So, a scientist would divide the parts of a plant into fruits, roots, stalk, leaves, etc. whereas your grandma would most likely divide it into fruits and vegetables.
Until now, I think we got the fruits and vegetables. What about berries? Oh, shall we sprout no more spoilers? If you join me through the list below, you will find out that the ‘fruit vs. vegetable’ debate is not the only controversy and weird thing about fruits.
1. Bananas are slightly radioactive because they contain potassium. When potassium decays, its atoms emit what we call “radiation”. However, you would have to eat a LOT of bananas just to compete with the recommended dose.
Source: Wikipedia, Image: blazingfires13 via deviantart
2. Did you know that strawberries and raspberries aren’t actually berries in the botanical aspect? Yes, you heard it right. That’s because they are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, making them an aggregate fruit. So, what are the true berries like? Well, true berries are simple fruits which stem from one flower with one ovary and typically have several seeds. Part of this group are tomatoes, pomegranates, kiwis and, BANANAS! They too have seeds, except they’re so tiny, you forget they are even there.
3. Is an orange called an orange because it’s orange, or is orange called orange because of the orange? I mean, which came first, orange the fruit or orange the color? Well, apparently the fruit came first, otherwise, they would be also called green. That’s because not all oranges are orange. So, if the weather isn’t cold enough, the chlorophyll in the orange’s skin doesn’t break down, causing the fruit’s color to stay green.
4. There is this ‘Miracle berry‘ which makes sour and bitter fruits taste sweet. After eating this super-berry, the sensation will last for up to two hours. This phenomenon is due to the protein called miraculin that binds to the taste buds on the tongue and ‘trips’ flavors to appear sweeter.
5. Fruits and vegetables don’t die the moment they are harvested. They continue to respond to their environment, such as light signals and consequently change their biology, which may even affect their health value and insect resistance.
6. As we mentioned above, berries are not the berries we already know; small, round, and juicy. According to the scientific aspect, “berries are fruits produced from the ovary of a single flower in which the outer layer of the ovary wall develops into an edible, fleshy portion.”
7. Even pineapples are berries. Damn it you berries!
8. Bananas being weird again. They share 50% of their DNA with us, humans!
9. There are more than 7000 different types of apples grown all over the world. No wonder there are so many apples in our grocery stores.
10. Did you know that square watermelons are a thing in Japan?
11. “Fruit salad trees” are trees that can grow 3 to 7 different fruits at the same tree. This comes as a result of grafting two or more plants so that they grow and function as a single plant. Cool!
12. Oh, tomatoes? After the tomato genome has been decoded, plant geneticists have discovered that the tomato contains 31,760 genes, which is 7,000 more genes than a human being!
13. No food straddles the line between fruit and vegetable more famously than the tomato. So, nutritionists list tomatoes as vegetables, wheres botanically tomatoes are considered as fruits because they form from a flower and contain seeds. So, I guess they’re both, fruits and vegetables.
14. If you are wondering why we call some fruits vegetables, that’s because, from a culinary standpoint, vegetables are considered savory in general, while fruits are considered to be sweet.
15. To let the list get even weirder, tomatoes, cucumbers, sunflower seeds, beans, avocados, lettuce leaves, and broccoli buds are fruits as well.
16. The Coco De Mer Palm tree is responsible for the world’s largest fruit which weighs around 42 kg (92 lbs).
17. Cucumbers are considered fruits too because fruits are the part of a plant that develops from a flower and contains the seeds. Whereas, the other parts of the plant are considered vegetables.