Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable 2

Tomatoes: are they a fruit or a vegetable? The tomato wiki

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When it comes to tomatoes, vegetables are normally thought of as they are not a sweet fruit that is mainly used in the kitchen. As a snack it is not as popular as, for example, an apple or a handful of blueberries, which is why it is often assumed that they belong to this group along with other plant species. But is that really true?


What is a tomato?

Tomatoes are the fruit of the Solanum lycopersicum plant, which belongs to the nightshade order and has only been grown in Europe since the 16th century. It was brought to Europe from the New World, more precisely from the area of ​​northern Chile to Venezuela and Mexico, and has been defining culinary delights since then, especially in countries like Italy. Their nutritious properties make them a good source of biotin, beta-carotene, folic acid, and other numerous vitamins, so they should not be missing from any diet. They are characterized by the following properties of the fruit.

  • Closing fruit, more precisely a berry
  • slight spherical shape
  • Seeds are stored in two separate chambers
  • Pericarp edible
  • Size between 2.5 to 10 centimeters

It is noticeable here that, due to their growth form, tomatoes are counted among the berry fruits, but are not berries. As a result, they belong in the same group as a large number of plants, including the following.

Soft fruit, on the other hand, describes a larger group of real and berry-like plants that are characterized by extremely small fruit bodies and their sweetness or acidity. If the tomatoes belong to the group of berries, then botanically they are a fruit. But it is difficult to say whether the tomato can be counted in a fruit group or a vegetable. Here is another comparison between fruits and vegetables.

What is fruit

Fruit is an old collective term for all fruits of plants that are edible raw and are currently classified as sweet. This classification includes the following, among others.

  • Berries (including the tomato)
  • Drupes
  • Nuts
  • Pome fruits
  • exotic fruits

In addition, the fruit must usually contain water and come from perennial plants that bear new fruit every year. Another important point is the development of the fruit. If this develops from the flower of the plant, the classification as fruit for the tomato is correct. Tomatoes change from their yellow flower, which is shaped like a tube, into the well-known red fruiting body and therefore a division into this collective term is quite logical. In addition, they are perennial, definitely in their American homeland, which also speaks for tomatoes as a fruit.

What are vegetables

Vegetables, on the other hand, do not just refer to the fruiting body of a plant, but to all parts that can be used and eaten. These are, for example, roots, leaves or the entire plant itself. In addition, the collective term "vegetables" includes plant species that grow as an annual and do not produce sweet fruits. Since tomatoes are very fresh, but not sweet, integration into this group is obvious. But this classification is wrong, because on the one hand tomatoes are actually not annual plants and develop from the flower. Every type of vegetable has flowers that grow away from the plant parts used, which is not the case with tomatoes.

Note: The amount of sugar in a fruit does not determine whether it is a fruit or a group of vegetables. This has evolved from common usage and has not yet been changed.

Fruit vegetables

What are tomatoes The answer: fruit vegetables

In addition to the collective terms mentioned above, there is an intermediate group that very few people have heard of: the fruit vegetables. The fruit vegetables are fruits that cannot be precisely classified into one of the two groups due to the German language, their growth characteristics and their taste. They are called fruit vegetables to clear up the confusion between the two groups. In addition to the tomato, the following are among the fruit vegetables.

  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Melons
  • Peppers
  • Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)
  • legumes
  • Pumpkins
  • Zucchinis

The mentioned fruits are often counted among the vegetable varieties, but technically they are not all vegetable forms, just as melons are not really fruit fruits. This is why the collective term for fruit vegetables was developed in Germany to speak of fruits that are used as a vegetable variety or are actually one, but are mistaken for fruit due to their sweetness. From a botanical point of view, tomatoes clearly belong to the type of fruit, but the use of the term “fruit vegetables” is simpler and has just not caught on until now.

Explanation of terms

Where did the confusion come from?

This is mainly due to the actual use of the word fruit in the German language. In the past, this term mainly described pulses that were served as a "side dish", i.e. a form of side dish, and often represented a change from other foods. The current word developed from the Old High German term, which in the course of the colonization of the New World and industrialization more and more often stood for sweet or sour fruits that were more likely to be tasted as a snack or special event. Fruits are therefore also described in this way, although there are many fruits that are not sweet.