What’s the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables?
The other day we wrote a blog post for a new drink recipe featuring a pretty uncommon “fruit” syrup: Amoretti Premium Watermelon Syrup. Well, in researching for the drink recipe, we ran into a fact we had never heard before… watermelon actually isn’t a fruit; it’s a vegetable. And, that got us to thinking, if the watermelon fooled us, what other fruits and veggies might be improperly categorized in our brains? What is the difference between fruits and vegetables anyway?
The Culinary View
If you ask a cook in the kitchen, you’re more likely to get the generic answer we’ve all been taught about the difference between fruits and vegetables. Fruits are sweet and/or tart, and are typically considered refreshing on their own or in other dishes.
Vegetables, on the other hand, are savory, and tend to have roots, leafy greens, or other such elements. But clearly, the general culinary perspective doesn’t offer nearly enough clarification. After all, the tomato is a fruit and the watermelon is a vegetable, but the above guidelines wouldn’t necessarily lead you to believe so!
The Botanist View
So, let’s examine the difference between fruits and vegetables from the botanist’s view. From a more technical standpoint, there are a few ways to tell the difference:
- A fruit is the seed-containing mature ovary of a flower. Essentially, once the ovary of a flower begins to mature, what forms around it is the “fruit.” This is a somewhat technical definition.
- Vegetables, on the other hand, don’t have any such technical definition. “Vegetable” is and always has been a layman’s term that no one necessarily has the right to define. Most botanists agree that vegetables are edible roots, seeds, stems, tubers, etc. Basically, a vegetable can be considered “anything else” that’s attached to the fruit!
- Oh, and have you ever wondered about nuts? Well, nuts are technically just dry, one-seeded fruits!
Unexpected Fruit & Veggie Mix-Ups
- Pumpkins, Zucchini, and Cucumbers? Fruit
- Eggplant, chili pepper, allspice? Fruit again!
In our opinion though, when it comes to fine beverage ingredients, the fruit/vegetable argument doesn’t matter much at all. If you’re looking for some uncommon fruit syrups, then be sure to check out our selection of nine fruit syrups (say what you will about “Apple Pie” being a fruit!). Maybe you have some favorite fruit/veggie mix-ups of your own? If so, share them with us on our Twitter page.