Is Tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

The age old confusion regarding tomato – Is it a fruit? Or is it a vegetable?

To answer this question, lets look at what is considered a fruit. Botanically speaking, a fruit is developed from the ovary located at the base of the flower and has seeds to propagate the plant further.

Does tomato grow from the ovary of the tomato flower? Yes. Does tomato have seeds? Yes! So, it is a fruit. Just like blueberries and oranges.

What are vegetables then? Other parts of the plant that are edible like leaves, roots and stems are called vegetables. For example, carrots, radishes, celery, cabbage, lettuce are all vegetables.

Does that mean cucumbers, squash and beans are also fruits? Botanically, yes, they are all fruits because they have seeds and are formed from the ovary of the flower.

Then why are they called vegetables and why are they always kept with the other vegetables in grocery stores? Only because they are used as vegetables in cooking and are mostly part of savoury dishes.

 

So, tomato is botanically a fruit but a vegetable for all other intents and purposes!

Fun fact: Did you know tomato is the official fruit of Arkansas and the official vegetable of the State of New Jersey? 🙂

References:

  1. http://www.netstate.com/states/symb/fruit/ar_tomato.htm
  2. http://www.nj.com/jjournalnews/index.ssf/2012/08/jersey_tomatoes_the_state_vege.html