Kitchen Myths

Facts and fiction about food and cooking, by Peter Aitken

Tomato is a vegetable

OK, before you start rolling your eyes, I am well aware that this myth falls, for most people, in the “who cares” category. But who knows, you may find yourself on Jeopardy someday!

From a scientific standpoint, a “fruit” is the part of a plant that contains the seed(s). Thus, apples, oranges, cantaloupes, peaches, and grapes are all fruits. No surprise there! But by this definition, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, cucumbers, okra, peppers, and many other “vegetables” are fruits. True vegetables include lettuce, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, celery, ginger, garlic, asparagus, and so on.

Of course, we all use the common distinction that vegetables are not sweet and are typically eaten with the main course, while fruits are sweet and are more often eaten on their own or as part of dessert.

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