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What is the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?

Updated on July 22, 2008

I have found that most people don't actually know the difference between fruits and vegetables. Many foods are considered vegetables when they are actually fruit. When I found this out I realized that I eat mostly fruits and very few vegetables. This can be a problem when trying to get all the nutrients you need from the food you eat. Knowing what is truly a vegetable and what is really a fruit will help.

A fruit is the mature ovary of a flowering plant. So this means that tomatoes, eggplants, sweet corn, cucumbers, squash, and peas are all fruits. And here I thought I was doing pretty well at eating my vegetables. Did you know that nuts are hard, dry fruit as well? The fruit category also includes okra, beans, sunflower seeds, wheat and the ones you are well aware of like plums, peaches, apples, bananas, avocado, berries, etc.

When people think of pumpkins and zucchini I believe they think they are eating vegetables. Pumpkin and zucchini are part of the squash family though, which means they are truly fruits. Many foods are tricking us every day. The grocery stores and food books out there don't help us any either. Most people automatically refer to foods such as squash, beans and peas as vegetables. I know I always thought of wheat as a grain. It can be very confusing.

Vegetables though are any edible herbaceous plant part. This includes the stalks, roots, tubers, buds and flowers. Which means that carrots, radishes, rhubarb, celery, potatoes, yams, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli are all vegetables. Other vegetables include garlic, onions, asparagus, and lettuce.

How do you handle all the fruits that you have always thought of as vegetables? I know when I make a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and sunflower seeds I think I am doing pretty good eating my veggies. How about vegetable soup? My vegetable soup is loaded with tomatoes and beans which are actually fruits. Thanks goodness it also has carrots, potatoes and onions or I would have to start calling it fruit soup.

So now that you know the true difference between a fruit and a vegetable, are you going to do better about eating your five a day? If it is 5 fruits I will be just fine, if it is 5 veggies, then I am definitely lacking. How about you? I think that all of these foods, whether they are fruits or vegetables are very good for us and the more we eat the healthier we will be.

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    • profile image

      Harry Styles 

      2 years ago

      Niall tried eating a tomato and said it was a vegetable.I fooled him

    • profile image

      meetali 

      6 years ago

      i like it

    • profile image

      Stephanie 

      6 years ago

      Just a note: a peanut is actually a legume, not a fruit, as Mairrey noted.

    • profile image

      Doaa 

      6 years ago

      hehe thanks this information is very precious no one even knew anything about that before im glad i got to know that thanks again ,peace everyone hehe

    • profile image

      willcy 

      6 years ago

      Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

    • profile image

      Ruth 

      6 years ago

      Hmm! I knew about tomatoes but the rest is good news to me. Thanx for the enlightment

    • profile image

      Paula 

      6 years ago

      Great info,thanks!

      @Jack, I cant speak for anyone else,but in my opinion using a phrase such as "most people" isn't taken (again by me) to be offensive. Infact, it is used widely, by many people. Not that the people using really know what anyone else thinks or knows.

      In this case for example, it is more commonly known that a tomatoe is a fruit, but not everyone knows. So, targeting more my immediate friends & associates, I can honestly say most people(I know) know the difference.

      This just goes to just show, that not everyone gets the message that is being sent. The focus on a commonly used(whether used well or not) phrase is really not the point. The purpose of the hub, is merely to differentiate fruits from veggies.

      Life is full of cliches. Just don't turn into one, that's when, as you put it, distortions this sort of assumption can lead to can cause all sorts of misunderstandings and trouble. Have a Happy Day :)

    • profile image

      Mairrey 

      7 years ago

      @Solitario: Peanuts are a fruit and they grow underground. :0)

    • profile image

      solitario 

      7 years ago

      hello, BAILEY, ATTENTION friend, never, never carrots must be considered a fruit, because carrots grow up underground, not aerial, look at this rule: vegetables might be found over land or someones underground BUT no any fruit grows underground.

    • profile image

      shairene joy 

      7 years ago

      it's very useful for children

    • minesgm profile image

      minesgm 

      8 years ago from Texas

      Wow! Great! This is the information we always neglect.

      I voted up and i find it awesome.

      Mimi

    • profile image

      Jack 

      8 years ago

      The information is probably useful for some folks,and it's good of you to make it available.But please don't be offended when I suggest that you drop the cliché "most people" There are 6 billion people on this planet,they likelyhood of knowing what most of them think seems slim. For example, though its easy to assume otherwise,most people don't speak English,most people don't have a car. The distortions this sort of assumption can lead to can cause all sorts of misunderstandings and trouble.

    • profile image

      Aida  

      8 years ago

      I know some elementary school teachers that should read this information.

    • profile image

      billybobjoe 

      8 years ago

      To joe:

      A Pomegranate is definetly a fruit.(Most definitions of the Pomegranate say so)

    • profile image

      joe 

      8 years ago

      wut about a Pomegranite?

      \

    • profile image

      joe 

      8 years ago

      wut about a Pomegranite?

      \

    • profile image

      joe 

      8 years ago

      cool article

    • profile image

      Freckleface 

      8 years ago

      Great! thanks for this - i am now assured that i do eat enough fruit every day!

    • profile image

      Nikita Saunders 

      9 years ago

      thankyou for that useful information i will look at all my fruits vegetables differantly from now on .This information will also help me in school.

    • profile image

      NANCY 

      9 years ago

      i ALSO THOUGHT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRUITS AND VEGGIES, A FRUIT HAS SEEDS AND VEGGIES HAVE PITS. PITS ARE DIFFERENT THAN STONES, WHICH IS ALSO CONFUSING. LIKE AN APRICOT HAS A STONE NOT A PIT.

    • Jennifer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer 

      9 years ago

      Meme - Bananas are a fruit, there are seeds in them.

    • profile image

      meme 

      9 years ago

      i still don't get it!!!

      basically a fruit is something that has seeds or is a seed, right??

      but what about a banana, which is a fruit!!!!

    • profile image

      Bailey 

      9 years ago

      A carrot is actually a fruit as well.

    • profile image

      ocki 

      9 years ago

      I majored in horticulture at university. That's strange. I learned the fruits like tomatoes, berries, melons that you think they are fruits are actually vegetables.........

    • profile image

      mother 

      9 years ago

      i am so happy because my child eat all tipes of food i am so praud

    • yourdietanalysis profile image

      yourdietanalysis 

      9 years ago from Denver, CO

      Very interesting and informative article.

      http://www.yourdietanalysis.com

    • profile image

      1 world embraced 

      9 years ago from southern kentucky

      Great read, and very infomative thanks.

    • profile image

      Kate 

      9 years ago

      But, you "veggie" salad is not any less healthful than it was when you thought it was all vegetables. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxident, for example, whether they are a fruit or a vegetable. Instead, look up the vegetables (or fruits) you eat to look at their specific benefits and decide if you want to include them in your diet that way. The FDA has a good site (www.mypyramid.gov -- go to my pyramid tracker) that lets you type in what you eat, and it will tell you what vitamins, minerals, etc. you are missing or need more of. Then, you don't have to worry so much about catagorization.

    • msms profile image

      msms 

      9 years ago

      Great Hub, very different but great information

      Mahendra

    • profile image

      Lizzy 

      9 years ago

      This HUB is awsome!!!

      YOU helped my kids with there homework

      thanks!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      super rasengan 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for the article.

      wow i guess my vegetable salad is really fruit salad

    • Dottie1 profile image

      Dottie1 

      10 years ago from MA, USA

      Fooled me on this hub. I'm glad I stoped by to read.

    • dotchianni profile image

      dotchianni 

      10 years ago from San Diego, CA

      It just dawmed on me... you put wheat isn't a grain... really? What is it?

    • dotchianni profile image

      dotchianni 

      10 years ago from San Diego, CA

      I knew tomato is a fruit, but I didn't know all the others! Wow! Thank you so much for this article! I am happy my kids love vegetables!

    • mother of three profile image

      mother of three 

      10 years ago from Small town Kentucky

      Nice hub!! I think most people don't realize all the different fruits there is available to them. I'm just happy my kids eat vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.

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