A. Is a tomato a fruit or vegetable? Perhaps the most straightforward answer is:
if it has seeds then technically it is most likely a fruit.
In botany - in other words, scientifically speaking - a fruit is the ripened ovary
(part of the reproductive organ) of a flowering plant. The fruit is the means by
which the flower spreads its seeds (seeds obviously being the embryonic plants).
So, by these botanical definitions, tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers, courgettes
and even green beans are all fruits because they have seeds.
However, the confusion of what constitutes a fruit and what constitutes a vegetable
largely arises due to differences in technical and non-technical terminology or,
to put it another way, between scientists and cooks. According to Wikipedia.org:
“A vegetable is an edible plant of part of a plant. However, the word is not scientific,
and its meaning is largely based on culinary and cultural tradition. Therefore the
application of the word is somewhat arbitrary”.
As a rule of thumb, when speaking in cooking terms, we refer to fruits as being the
sweet and fleshy ones such as oranges, apples and plums, whilst by vegetables we
tend to mean the more savoury varieties. To refer to another online friend again,
the New World Encyclopaedia, “given this general rule... vegetables caninclude...
the botanical fruits like cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and capsicums”.
So there we go. Technically speaking tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins, cucumbers and the
like are indeed fruits. But when referred to in culinary terms, they can be called