What's the Difference Between a Fruit and a Vegetable?

Dead center of the overlapping region sitsthe tomato.So,why is it a fruit,and why is it a vegetable?

Botanically speaking,a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant,whereas vegetables are all other plant parts,such as roots,leaves and stems.By those standards,seedy outgrowths such asapples,squash and,yes,tomatoes are all fruits,while roots such as beets,potatoesand turnips,leaves such asspinach,kaleand lettuce,and stems such asceleryandbroccoliare all vegetables.[Why Are Bananas Berries,But Strawberries Aren't?]

The outlook is quite different in culinary terms,however.A lot of foods that are (botanically speaking) fruits,but which are savory rather than sweet,are typically considered vegetables by chefs.This includes such botanical fruits as eggplants,bell peppers and tomatoes.

Fruit vs.vegetable Venn diagram
(Image credit: Public domain)

The fruit vs.vegetable debate can sometimes reach such a fever pitch that the law must step in.In the 1893 United States Supreme Court caseNix.v.Hedden,the court rule unanimously that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable,rather than as a (less taxed) fruit.The court acknowledged that a tomato is a botanical fruit,but went with what they called the "ordinary" definitions of fruit and vegetable — the ones used in the kitchen.

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