Sunday, 15 May 2011

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FRUIT AND A VEGETABLE?


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It is a common question that I often get asked, but it is not as simple as it would first seem.  There are several ways to classify fruit and vegetables and often terms are used interchangeably.

FRUIT

A fruit is the swollen ovary of a flowering plant, and therefore contains seeds.  The fruit is produced to help plants colonise wider areas and are often brightly coloured and flavoursome in order to attract animals to eat the seeds. They are  ingested by the animal and then deposited in their droppings. Some seeds require this digestion in order to aid germination of the seed. 

VEGETABLE

A vegetable is any other part of the plant harvested for food such as the seeds, root, stem or leaf of a plant.


Fruits and vegetables are referred to differently in botanical, culinary and retail terms, and terms are often used interchangeably. Tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, squashes and gourds are all fruits.  Peas and beans are vegetables, but if eaten in the pod are considered fruit. Although often referred to in culinary terms as a fruit, rhubarb is in fact a vegetable. Bananas have immature seeds within them.  Strawberries have their seeds on the outside of the fruit. Peanuts are a variety of bean. Nuts are tree seeds.


Vegetables
Asparagus (stem), Beans (seeds), broccoli (flowers), cabbage (leaves), carrot (roots), celery (stem), cauliflower (flowers), lettuce (leaves), peas (seeds), potato (root), rhubarb (stem).


Fruit
Apple, aubergine, banana, bell peppers, cherry, cucumber, melon, orange, peapods, peach, pear, strawberry, tomato.



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