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FutureStarrTomato is a fruit
Ask ten people what type of vegetable they’re eating and you’ll find. eleven will say, “Tomato” and one will say, “Vegetable”. Now, suppose you asked just one person—the person who asked for the input and said, “Tomato”. As far as he is concerned, the fruit he asked for should’ve been delivered.The age-old question actually has an answer—it's both! Tomatoes are fruits that are considered vegetables by nutritionists. Botanically, a fruit is a ripened flower ovary and contains seeds. Tomatoes, plums, zucchinis, and melons are all edible fruits, but things like maple “helicopters” and floating dandelion puffs are fruits too. For some reason, people got hung up on tomatoes, but the “fruit or vegetable” question could also work for any vegetable with seeds.
Now, nutritionally, the term “fruit” is used to describe sweet and fleshy botanical fruits, and “vegetable” is used to indicate a wide variety of plant parts that are not so high in fructose. In many cultures, vegetables tend to be served as part of the main dish or side, whereas sweet fruits are typically snacks or desserts. Thus, roots, tubers, stems, flower buds, leaves, and certain botanical fruits, including green beans, pumpkins, and of course tomatoes, are all considered vegetables by nutritionists. There is no hard-and-fast rule that clearly designates a botanical fruit as a vegetable, but, given that tomatoes are generally not used in desserts and are closely related to other fruit-vegetables (e.g., eggplants and peppers), it is not too counterintuitive for tomatoes to be classified as vegetables.Look no further, because the answer is, tomatoes are technically both! While fruits and vegetables both count as part of our recommended 5-a-day, fruits and vegetables have distinct differences. However, these can depend on whether you’re talking to a botanist, who uses the botanical definition or a nutritionist or chef, who will most likely use the culinary definition.
To summarise, tomatoes are usually prepared in savoury dishes despite botanically being a fruit, which is why they are often described as a vegetable from a culinary perspective. Who cares, though, when tomatoes taste as good as they do! We can all agree tomatoes are easy snacks, delicious in stews and are a healthy option in our diets, providing us with fibre, vitamins and minerals.Aztecs and other peoples in Mesoamerica were the first to have domesticated the fruit and used in their cooking. The Spanish first introduced tomatoes to Europe, where they became used in Spanish food. In France, Italy and northern Europe, the tomato was initially grown as an ornamental plant. It was regarded with suspicion as a food because botanists recognized it as a nightshade, a relative of the poisonous belladonna. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)
To answer the question “is tomato a fruit,” let’s look at the definition of fruit. According to Merriam-Webster, fruits are “the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant, especially: one having a sweet pulp.” The actual tomato plant is a seed plant that grows the red, edible tomatoes people know and love. Although tomatoes aren’t known for being as sweet as other fruit (like peaches), they’re not as bitter as some vegetables (looking at you, Brussels sprouts). With this definition in mind, everything from peppers to cucumbers are also fruit, while carrots and potatoes are not. It’s an interesting fact that potatoes are actually distant relatives of the tomato. However, as root vegetables, they don’t fit the “fruit of the vine” definition that makes tomatoes a fruit.
While tomatoes are scientifically fruits, they’re legally classed as vegetables. That may seem surprising, but the vegetable category actually encompasses a lot more than you might think. According to Merriam-Webster, a vegetable is “a usually herbaceous plant grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal.” This means that the vegetable category includes all plant parts, like roots, leaves, and stems. Fruit, on the other hand, is only the seed-carrying part of the plant. So things like beets, spinach, and broccoli are all vegetables, and are best eaten when they’re in season (find a guide here!).According to Merriam-Webster, a fruit is "the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant." In a blog post, the dictionary explained it in simpler terms: "Any thing that grows on a plant and is the means by which that plant gets its seeds out into the world is a fruit." (Source:www.businessinsider.com)