Tuesday, November 26, 2013

They're really fruits

Beans, corn, bell peppers, peas, eggplant, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash and tomatoes are vegetables, right? Not really.

Botanically speaking, fruits are the part of flowering plants that contain the seeds and are the means by which such plants disseminate those seeds. Even nuts and grains are fruits.

So what are vegetables?  Botanically, vegetables are all the other parts of the plant, including the leaves (lettuce and spinach), roots (carrots and radishes), stems (ginger and celery) and even the flower buds (broccoli and cauliflower).

To sum up – if it is from a plant and has seeds (or would have if it wasn't genetically engineered or cultivated otherwise), it is a fruit; if not, it is a vegetable.

So why do we learn that peppers, corn and cucumbers are vegetables? When it comes to cooking, fruits are generally sweet tasting and vegetables are more savoury and less sweet. Fruits are also typically served as part of dessert or as snacks, and vegetables are part of the main dish.

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