- Food and Cooking
What is the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?
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.