The Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable? – Backyard Food Growing


People, over the years have learned how to eat all parts of hundreds of different plants. This includes everything from the flowers to the fruit to the stems and leaves to the seeds and on to the roots too.

Celery and rhubarb are considered stems
Lettuce and spinach are leafy vegetables
Broccoli is clusters of tiny flower buds
Artichoke is a giant flower bud
Potatoes and turnips are root vegetables
Herbs are classified as vegetables
Mushrooms are fungus
Eggplant is a fruit and so is corn!

Now the tomato…

Most people assume that the tomato is a vegetable because we use it as one in savory dishes along side other veggies like potatoes and carrots. The tomato is even sold in the vegetable section of the grocery store. So, it seems logical that it would be thought of as a vegetable.

We don’t usually use them in desserts. I don’t know of any deserts that contain tomatoes, please leave a comment and tell me if there is such a thing as a tomato dessert. They just don’t really fit with the fruit category. I was well into adulthood before I ever considered that a tomato wasn’t a vegetable.

The tomato is very definitely a FRUIT! This brings about the question of other veggies. Are they actually fruits? Is a potato a fruit or is a pepper a vegetable?

It’s all about seeds

The answer lies in the seeds. If the thing you’re looking at makes seeds, then it’s a FRUIT. If not, it’s a vegetable. So with that knowledge, everything changes what we thought about the garden and what’s a fruit and what’s a veggie. A cucumber, a hot pepper (any pepper), a pumpkin, green beans and squash are all fruits. Who knew, eh?

It’s the potatoes, carrots, turnips, asparagus, rutabagas and other roots that are vegetables. Now you know that a tomato is a fruit and potatoes are definitely vegetables.

More Fruits Disguised as Vegetables

Olives, Peas, Pumpkin, Squash, Chili peppers, Eggplant and Corn are all fruit, not vegetables at all. Each of them make seeds either inside or on the surface like a corn cob.

Interesting fact: Peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash are all biologically fruit but they are taxed as vegetables and classified as such.

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