What is the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?
Many people can say that an apple is a fruit and a pepper is a vegetable, but what scientifically is the distinction between the two types of foods?
The answer is based on the parts of the plant involved. Basically, fruits are developed from flowers, vegetables aren't.
A fruit is the ripened ovary/ovaries of the flower of a seed-bearing plant, and are derived from carpels, the plant's basic female reproductive part. Fruits contain seeds, which serve as the ovules of the plant. Once a plant starts growing flowers and the flowers are fertilized, the flower can then develop into a fruit with seeds.
Fruits are the ways that seeds can be spread, whether by falling from the plant to the ground or being eaten by an animal or human and spread in the leavings. Technically, anything with seeds should be classified as a fruit. Radishes and lettuce don't have seeds, but squash do!
Fruits are often so sweet because they contain plenty of fructose, which vegetables have little of.
Even nuts are fruits!
Vegetables are not made from flowers; instead, they are the plant's roots (carrots), stems (celery), leaves (cabbage) and other edible parts of a plant. And mushrooms don't count.
Here is a list of fruits many people consider to be vegetables:
- Squash and zucchini
- Peppers (all types!)
- CDC - Fruits and Veggies
Fruits & Veggies Matter: Home: Eat a Colorful Variety of Fruits and Vegetables Every Day for Better Health | CDC
- Fruits & Veggies More Matters : Health Benefits of Fruits & Vegetables
NCI's Men: Shoot for 9, a comprehensive information resource that provides health information and tips to encourage men to eat 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
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