The confusion about 'fruit' and 'vegetable' arises because of the differences in usage between scientists and cooks. Scientifically speaking, a tomato is definitely a fruit. Read more to know.
Are tomatoes fruit or vegetables? Before we can figure out exactly what a tomato is, let's first take a look at what fruits and vegetables are. As it turns out, there are a couple of different ways to define each.
What is the difference?
Scientists determine fruits as the parts of a plant that bear seeds. Cooks describe fruits as the edible parts of a plant with a sweet flavor.
On the other hand, cooks define vegetables as the edible parts of a plant with a savory flavor. These can include, for example, the leaves (lettuce), stems (celery), roots (carrots) and flowers (broccoli) of plants. Scientists have no precise definition for vegetables.
What is it?
Using these definitions, we can begin to answer the question of whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable. According to scientists, tomatoes are clearly fruits, since they are the part of the tomato plant that bears seeds. Are tomatoes classified as fruits or vegetables?
Cooks, however, often classify tomatoes as vegetables since they are the edible part of the tomato plant and have a savory rather than sweet taste.
In case you're wondering, savory is one of the five basic tastes — along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Savory is a pleasant "meaty" taste with a lasting coating on the tongue.
So is this just one of those curious questions without any real significance? No!
A Court sentence.
The question of whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court! In the 1893 case of Nix v. Hedden, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that, for purposes of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, tomatoes are vegetables.
The Supreme Court relied on the fact that tomatoes are usually used as vegetables since they're typically served with dinner and not dessert. The ruling, though, only applied to tax law and did not attempt to reclassify tomatoes scientifically.
When all is said and done, tomatoes are fruits according to scientists. However, many people — and most cooks — will continue to look at them as vegetables.
And if you're wondering if tomatoes are the only fruits that get treated like vegetables, they're not! Eggplants, bell peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and pumpkins are all fruits that similarly get cooked as vegetables.
Some states have particular feelings about tomatoes, though. New Jersey officially named the tomato its state vegetable. Arkansas, on the other hand, saw both sides of the issue when it declared the South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato as the official state fruit and state vegetable!
Fruit or vegetable?
Let's stop arguing and instead move on to checking out the following activities with a friend or family member.
Enough worrying about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable! The one thing that most everyone can agree upon is this: tomatoes are delicious. Ask an adult friend or family member to take you on a field trip to the grocery store to buy some fresh tomatoes.
How many different types of tomatoes can you find at the warehouse?
If possible, purchase a couple of different types and compare their tastes.
If you can't get enough of tomatoes, head to the kitchen to try out one or more of these great tomato recipes: + Macaroni and Tomatoes + Easy No-Cook Salsa + Homemade Spaghetti Sauce + Summer Tomato Sandwiches + Homemade Ketchup. How do you think tomatoes feel about the controversy regarding their identity? Do you think they feel confused?
If you were a tomato, would you feel more like a fruit or a vegetable? How would you identify yourself? That's the question we want you to answer today. Write a brief story from the point of view of a tomato, answering the all-important question of exactly who you are!