Wandering Wednesday: Fruit vs Veggie

Today's Wandering Wednesday is a random one.

Today my labmates and I were arguing over the difference between fruits and veggies (now you know what we awesome scientists do during the day).  I am in the boat that suggests veggies are the part of the plant that absorbs the sun light, produces chlorophyll and basically allows the plant to survive.  Whereas fruits are the “things” that are produced by the plant as to spread it’s seeds (think apples and peppers).  My peep Kate is very adamant and suggests peppers and such are NOT fruits and are in fact veggies.  

So here I give you some definitions:

Fruit: The term fruit has different meanings dependent on context, and the term is not synonymous in food preparation and biology. In botany, which is the scientific study of plants, fruits are the ripened ovaries of flowering plants (from Wikipedia, great source a scientist/future librarian is using, I know…)

1.        the developed ovary of a seed plant with its contents and accessory parts, as the pea pod, nut, tomato, or pineapple.
2.        the edible part of a plant developed from a flower, with any accessory tissues, as the peach, mulberry, or banana

Veggie: The term "vegetable" generally means the edible parts of plants. But the definition is traditional rather than scientific, so the usage of the word is somewhat arbitrary and subjective, as it is determined by individual cultural customs (again from Wiki).

A plant cultivated for an edible part, such as the root of the beet, the leaf of spinach, or the flower buds of broccoli or cauliflower.

Examples of fruits and vegetables

Here's an interesting list of fruits that are often thought to be vegetables:
§                         tomatoes
§                         cucumbers
§                         squashes and zucchini
§                         avocados
§                         green, red, and yellow peppers
§                         peapods
§                         pumpkins
§                         olives
Apples, eggplants, rose hips and corn kernels are also fruits.
Examples of vegetables include broccoli, potato, lettuce, spinach and cauliflower.

However, before I start jumping up and down saying I’m right I found out the fruit-veggie debate with the tomato made it to the US Supreme Court in 1893.  In Nix vs. Hedden the tomato was identified and taxed as a vegetable as per the 1883 Tariff Act on imported produce.  However the court did acknowledge scientifically the tomato is a fruit.  Figures, the government goes against science.  J

So is Kate right or am I right?  I guess the debate is still on.  

Happy Wandering Wednesday!


lunaticraft said…
I vote for you being right, mainly because I actually probably do get my alloted fruit intake under your definition. Not big on traditional fruits, but I do eat a lot of cucs and zuchs! =D
Sigrun said…
Praise to you for being persistent. This question came up perennially in my 6th grade class, so I had fun with it. Nutritionally, it doesn't matter what you call them as long as you get a good variety of all the colors. Our Canada Food Guide says 10 servings daily from the Fruit/Vegetable Group, of which 2 or 3 should be fruit.
Lupie said…
WOW I had no idea! Olives are fruits! I must tell my students what I learned today.
Steffi said…
Ummm, my vote is with you. :) Thanks for the inside look into the life and conversations of crazy scientists!