Sunday, June 13, 2010

The difference between Fruits and Vegetables

(Note: this topic may look nonsense for others. But I think it is important for all to distinguish what is a fruit and what is not, since we encounter them in our daily living.)

When I was a young boy, I thought I already knew what's the main difference between fruits and vegetables. I can easily tell what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. Until my 5th grade teacher told me that carrot is a fruit. I was skeptical about what she said. Because ever since I first encountered carrots, I always categorized it as vegetable.

After that incident, I started to research on how to tell what is a fruit and what is a vegetable. But I cannot find the answer that I am looking for. Internet was not that popular during those times (early 2000), books and other written materials are my only reference. I got tired of searching for the truth that's why I stopped researching.

Last year, someone challenged me to prove that a cucumber is a fruit and not a vegetable. I was up to the challenge and tried researching again. But this time, Google is there to help me. I found a great explanation on how to tell fruits apart from vegetables.

So the first thing that we should know is that the term vegetable does not exist on science. The only parts of a plant are roots, trunk/branches, flower, leaves and fruits - no vegetable. So how come the term vegetable was used on the parts of a plant that is edible?

Vegetable is considered as a "market term". Market people (both seller and customers) uses the term vegetable for those parts of plant (excluding fruits) that can be eaten fresh or cooked. Vegetable is also used for those fruits that are non-citrus, not sweet, or fruits that are being cooked.

So here's the real deal:

Some fruits are vegetables, Some vegetables are fruits.

Got confused? I found a technique so you won't be confused. All you need to do is to be able to distinguish what a real fruit is. Why? Because if you knew that an edible part of a plant is not a fruit, you can automatically consider it as a vegetable.

So how can I determine if its a fruit? So simple, look for a seed. All fruits have seed. So if you're eating a fleshy part of plant that has seed, then its a fruit! All you need to do now is to know if that fruit is considered as vegetable in the market.

Let's go back on the cucumber challenge. I was able to prove to him that cucumbers are fruit. Because it is a fleshy part of the plant with seeds inside. Technically speaking, I am correct and he is wrong. But we could also consider him right for stating that cucumber is a vegetable. Like what is stated above; fruits that are non-citrus, not sweet or fruits that are being cooked are considered vegetable. We can really classify cucumber as a vegetable.


Anonymous said...

This is the very important and useful topic don't you this it is nonsense. i think nobody's do.yes many of the people don't know different between these two. your article gives lots of basic ideas about that. thanks for sharing.

miss fat said...

i agree with what you posted earlier. some vegetable are really fruit and some fruits are really vegetables. there are times that you would really get puzzled about which is which. i am just wondering now if a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable..

markamps said...

@miss fat tomato is a fruit. it has seeds inside. But most people perceive it as vegetable. :)

Anonymous said...

" Some fruits are vegetables, Some vegetables are fruits."

That above quote sums it up perfectly. There definitely is a fine line between which is which.

Great article!

markamps said...

@simon thanks for the complement!

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