How did certain types of berries like cucumbers and eggplants become classified as vegetables instead of fruits?


How did certain types of berries like cucumbers and eggplants become classified as vegetables instead of fruits?

In: 3

There’s botanical fruits and then there’s culinary fruits.

A botanical fruit is any sort of fleshy food growth that a plant is using to disperse its seeds. Pumpkins, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers… they’re all fruits in a biological sense.

But they’re not sweet, so you can’t use them in fruit dishes when cooking. They have to be prepared and seasoned differently to make them palatable, more akin to a vegetable.

Botanical and culinary classifications are different. A botanical classification is based on its biology (seeds inside, grows on a Vine) a culinary classification is based on taste and shape. An egg plant is more like a squash taste wise so it’s a vegetable. Conversely apples and strawberries looks and taste like fruit so it’s a fruit in culinary terms but it’s actually a pseudocarp

Because colloquially, berries are bright, often sweet, juicy, small and roundish things. While vegetables are larger, more bland and more solid than berries. You don’t really think about origins of species and what is more related to each other when you are a peasant (or a gatherer) trying to decide what you can eat today.

Because berries and fruits are both pretty arbitrary definitions, plus it depends on what you mean by fruit. In a culinary sense, the distinction lies in the fact that fruit are sweet whereas vegetables are not. In a biological sense, however, a fruit is, essentially, a nutritious snack the plant builds around its seeds to encourage animals to eat it, thus spreading said seeds.

Berries are a subset of fruit, but since the distinction between fruit and vegetable is pretty arbitrary in a culinary sense (for instance, a potato is technically the fruit of a potato plant, yet no cook would call potatos fruit), some berries end up being fruit while others are vegetables.

Mostly, “social thinking;” something like, people are introduced to sweet fruits early on. Conversely, they are introduced to vegetables as having savory or watery flavors. So, when they are introduced to foods later in life, the association of flavors determines the food type.

– Sweet juicy and peelable skin equals fruit
– Watery and slightly bitter flavors equals vegetable

There’s no reason to do further research or double guess oneself when this rule-of-thumb is constantly correct; where the reality is that there are several foods that break the rule.

Where the best rule-of-thumb is actually,

– Fruits contain seeds, while vegetables can consist of roots, stems and leaves.
– A fruit develops from the flower of a plant, while the other parts of the plant are categorized as vegetables.

Cucumbers, eggplant, avocado, tomatoes, & various peppers are often mistaken for vegetables because of their flavor profile. Some people think, “eat the inside equals fruit, water the outside it’s a veggie.”

In the end, fruits and vegetables have hard-rules to determine what they are, it’s just not that important to most people.

Short article that might be helpful. [here](