Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Is the Tomato a Fruit or a Vegetable?
Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables? Is the avocado a fruit or a salad ingredient? This depends on the country where you reside. For example in the Philippines, tomatoes are considered vegetables but here in US they are considered fruits eaten as is or as an ingredient in the salad greens. This is the same situation for avocados. In the Philippines the avocado are made into ice cream or shakes for dessert. Here in the US, avocados are used in salad and sandwiches. For example, in Subway, a store that specialized in sandwiches, you can have avocado in your sandwich by paying extra, specifically $1.50 for your $5 or $7 foot long sandwiches. I love Avocados here. I eat it as a shake for dessert most of the time. In a few cases I eat it as part of my subway sandwich, but I seldom put it in my salad greens, except on special occasion. Avocados are very expensive here in US. In the Philippines,I had an avocado tree in my backyard. During the avocado season, we have to give away lots of it to the neighbors since it will just rot. I do not have the time and inclination to sell it in the wet market.
Can you give another example of an item that can be called either a fruit or a vegetable? I will be delighted to hear from you! Here's the official answer to the above question from the Oxford dictionary.
The confusion about 'fruit' and 'vegetable' arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. True fruits are developed from the ovary in the base of the flower, and contain the seeds of the plant (though cultivated forms may be seedless). Blueberries, raspberries, and oranges are true fruits, and so are many kinds of nut. Some plants have a soft part which supports the seeds and is also called a 'fruit', though it is not developed from the ovary: the strawberry is an example.
As far as cooking is concerned, some things which are strictly fruits, such as tomatoes or bean pods, may be called 'vegetables' because they are used in savoury rather than sweet cooking. The term 'vegetable' is more generally used of other edible parts of plants, such as cabbage leaves, celery stalks, and potato tubers, which are not strictly the fruit of the plant from which they come. Occasionally the term 'fruit' may be used to refer to a part of a plant which is not a fruit, but which is used in sweet cooking: rhubarb, for example.
So, the answer to the question is that a tomato is technically the fruit of the tomato plant, but it's used as a vegetable in cooking.