Health Tips - Fruit Defined
When people research food, there can be confusing ideas that make it hard to study the subject. One of the confusions can be — why are some foods called fruit?
There are 2 ways fruit is viewed — in common terms and in botanical terms. Botany is the science of plants. It involves study of the structure of plants and results in their classification based on their structure.
In common speech, a fruit is considered to be the growth of a plant or tree that is fleshy, juicy, and sweet-tasting. A vegetable is the growth of a plant that is not sweet-tasting. There are some foods that we commonly think of as vegetables that are actually fruits.
In botany, however, parts of plants are not named based on their taste. A fruit is considered to be the edible part of a plant developed from a flower and containing its own seed or seeds. A vegetable is the edible part of a plant that does not have seeds.
For example, the edible part of part of the cucumber plant that we eat — the cucumber — has seeds in it and is classified as fruit. However, the part of the carrot plant that we eat — the carrot — has no seeds in it and is classified as a vegetable.
Some fruits seem to have exceptions as far as the seeds go. Several fruits, such as bananas, grapes, pineapple, and watermelon appear to have no seeds at all. They do contain seeds in their wild form. Modern methods of crop growth have changed them for easier eating and market-place sales.
While in common speech these are nuts, in botany they are actually fruit: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
In botany, a legume is a fruit of a certain family of plants. Well-known legumes include peas, beans, lentils, carob, soy, and peanuts. These are technically fruit.
These are actually fruit from a botanical standpoint:
almond, apple, apricot, avocado, banana, bean, blackberry, black currant, black pepper, blueberry, boysenberry, Brazil nut, breadfruit, carob, cashew, cherry, chili pepper, coconut, cranberry, cucumber, eggplant, fig, gooseberry, gourd, grape, grapefruit, guava, kiwi, lemon, lentil, lime, lingonberry, macadamia nut, melon, mulberry, olive, orange, paprika, pea, peach, peanut, pear, pecan, pepper, pineapple, pistachio, plum, pomegranate, pumpkin, raspberry, red currant, red huckleberry, rose hips, soy, squash, strawberry, sweet pepper, tangerine, tomato, vanilla, walnut, watermelon.
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More on fruit later…