Why tomato is a fruit and not a vegetable or vice versa?

Tomato, an important ingredient in our food is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads and drinks. The species originated in the South American Andes and its use as a food originated in Mexico, and spread throughout the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americans..


So coming to the main Question that whether Tomato is a fruit or a vegetable? It seems like an odd question as from childhood we are consuming tomatoes under the category of vegetables and we also buy tomatoes from vegetable vendor and not by a fruit vendor. So what is your answer? Vegetable or Fruit? Just read below and then decide.

First we need to know what makes fruit a fruit and vegetable a vegetable.

To a botanist, a fruit is an entity that develops from the fertilized ovary of a flower. This means that tomatoes, squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, corn kernels, and bean and pea pods are all fruits; so are apples, pears, peaches, apricots, melons and mangoes. A vegetable, botanically, is any edible part of a plant that doesn’t happen to be a fruit, as in leaves (spinach, lettuce, cabbage), roots (carrots, beets, turnips), stems (asparagus), tubers (potatoes), bulbs (onions), and flowers (cauliflower and broccoli).

On the other hand, Cooks define fruits as the edible parts of a plant with a sweet flavor and 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.

Using these definitions, we can begin to answer the question of whether 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.

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.

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So if we go on the basis of above points we have to decide whether we should go with Botanists or cooks. This whole curious question became so big in the past that U.S supreme court was required to pitch in.

In 1886, importer John Nix and colleagues landed a load of West Indian tomatoes at the Port of New York where the resident customs official—one Edward Hedden—demanded payment of a ten percent tax in accordance with the Tariff Act of 1883, which levied an import duty on “foreign vegetables.” made its way to the Supreme Court where, in 1893, Justice Horace Gray ruled in favor of vegetable.

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Subsequent court decisions found truffles, onions, and water chestnuts also to be vegetables, but ruled that rhubarb (a leaf petiole or stalk, like celery) was a fruit, presumably from its popularity in strawberry-rhubarb pie. In 2001, the European Union declared carrots, sweet potatoes, and the now thoroughly confused tomatoes all to be fruits, at least for the purpose of making jam.

So the above question is not a simple one and this has been proved by the past incidents. Also Some states have particular feelings about tomatoes. 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 toamto as the official state fruit and state vegetable!

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Harsh is a curious writer who loves to explore his surroundings. There are many websites who provide answer to people queries but no single website alone resolves the curiosity of people. Curious Mind Box is an initiative to resolve the curiosities and answer every What, How and Why question that comes into your mind.

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