Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable? - Knowledgebase Question

Superior, CO
Question by reedbenson
March 10, 1998
I need to know if the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. Or maybe it was a vegetable and has been re-classified as a fruit? Inquiring minds need to know, so, thanks in advance.


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Answer from NGA
March 10, 1998

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Botanically speaking, tomatoes are classified as fruits--they are an enlarged ovary containing seeds. By this definition, pumpkins, squash, pepper, eggplant, etc. are also fruits. The word "vegetable" is not a botanical term.

In the vernacular, the word vegetable usually refers to plants eaten as a main course or salad, while fruits tend to be eaten as desserts or in sweet preparations.

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