The Difference Between a Fruit and a Vegetable
So Which is Which?
The fruits and vegetables which we consume are all picked from plants which grow out of the ground. We can eat them raw or cooked, snack on them, drink them, and even use many for medicinal purposes.
Both fruits and vegetables are generally very healthy. They are also both usually low in calories and protein but high in vitamin C or Vitamin B. It would appear that fruits and vegetables basically have much the same characteristics. So how can you tell which foods are a fruit and which are a vegetable?
It is an issue that has been confusing people for a very long time. So let's delve into the differences between a fruit and a vegetable.
Even the Experts Were Confused as to How to Classify Them
The issue of how to classify fruits and vegetables has been around for a long time.
Back In 1893 the United States Supreme Court tried to define which was which by classifying vegetables as the plants traditionally consumed within the main meal and fruits as those plants which were consumed as a desert or snack.
Although this classification system made some sense it still did not solve the issue, there were still times when these events overlapped so a clearer description was needed.
It is the Seed that Dictates Their Classification
The Seeds are the Key
It was decided that where the seeds of the fruit or vegetable are located at is what would be the determining factor as to whether a food would be classified as a fruit, or a vegetable.
If seeds are contained within the pulpy part of a food than it is classed as a fruit. New fruit is generally born from a flower on the mother plant. Which means that fruits are basically an ovary which contains the seeds of the plant within it. Fruits are also usually sweet although this aspect of a fruit can be confusing when looking at fruits such as the Tomato and Cucumber. They are exceptions to the rule not sweet like the standard fruit would be.
Vegetables are plants which we consume the leaves, stems, roots, or basically any other part other than the pulpy section surrounding the seed. So technically even some bushes and trees are vegetables. (Hmmm? I kind of thought that Oak tree down the block looked rather yummy.)
Foods That are Different for Very Distinctive Reasons
Tomato and Cucumber Still Confuse People
Tomato, Cucumber, Squash, Pumpkin, Watermelon, Avocado, Bell Pepper and Olive are all classified as fruits. These are also the produce that are most often mistaken for vegetables.
However if you look closely at these foods you can easily see that their seeds are within the pulp and the pulp of the fruit (or ovary) is what we consume.
Still confused by the whole fruit and vegetable classification system? It is very easy to be a little befuddled by the whole process because fruits can overlap into, and actually be considered as vegetables, but vegetables cannot be classified as fruits.
Fortunately both fruits and vegetables alike are almost always good for us. They are rich in vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants making them some of the healthiest foods for us to consume.
Spill the Beans on What You Knew Before You Read This Article
Did you know that a cucumber was classed as a fruit?
Salads are Delightfully Nutritious at Any Time of the Year
A Wee Little Serving of Seed Trivia
A pomegranate contains about 600 to 1400 seeds.
A strawberry has about 200 seeds.
A pumpkin generally has better 250 and 450.
The Red Delicious apple is the most produced apple in the U.S. so one would assume it also has the highest rate of consumption.
The bagged baby carrots you buy are not really young carrots. Instead the vegetable is cut and shaped to that size. Also a specific type of carrot is grown to most mimic that shape.
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables - They are Good for You
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help to reduce a persons risk of developing Cancer and other age related illnesses. So whether you call a Cucumber a fruit or a vegetable just know that when you munch it down it is going to be good for your body.
The Canada food guide suggests that adults consume seven to ten servings of fruits and vegetables each and every day. They also recommend that these servings consist of at least one serving of a dark green vegetable and one serving of an orange colored vegetable every day.
So pile a few extra fruits and vegetables on your plate today. They are good for you.
© 2010 Lorelei Cohen