Differences Between Fruits and Vegetables

Most people know that fruits and vegetables are good for you, but not as many are familiar with the differences between them.

In terms of structure, taste, and nutrition, there are many distinctions between fruits and vegetables.

This article will take a closer look at the differences between fruits and vegetables, and the health benefits they can provide.

Fruits Vs Vegetables

A fruit develops from the flower of a plant, while the other parts of the plant are categorized as vegetables. Fruits contain seeds, while vegetables can consist of roots, stems, and leaves. Vegetables have a more mild or savory taste and are usually eaten as part of a side dish or main course.

By those standards, seedy outgrowths such as apples, squash, and, yes, tomatoes are all fruits, while roots such as beets, potatoes, and turnips, leaves such as spinach, kale, and lettuce, and stems such as celery and broccoli are all vegetables.

The outlook is quite different in culinary terms, however. A lot of foods that are (botanically speaking) fruits, but which are used in savory dishes rather than sweet ones, are typically considered vegetables by chefs. This includes such botanical fruits as eggplants, bell peppers, and tomatoes, according to European Food Information Council (EUFIC).

Another factor that can impact someone’s perception of what is a fruit or vegetable is language and culture, according to a 2011 survey, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. Rice was considered to be a vegetable by 20% of respondents, who were all adults in the US.

When compared with English speakers, Spanish speakers were more likely to call rice a vegetable while Chinese speakers were less likely. Beans, which are often grouped in the vegetable category, also divided opinions. Compared to Spanish speakers, English speakers were more likely to label them as vegetables.

The debate over the difference between fruit and vegetables can sometimes reach such a fever pitch that the law must step in.

In 1893 the United States Supreme Court case Nix. v. Hedden, the court ruled unanimously that an imported tomato should be taxed as a vegetable, rather than as a (less taxed) fruit, according to the Mercer Law Review.

The court acknowledged that a tomato is a botanical fruit, but went with what they called the “ordinary” definitions of fruit and vegetable the ones used in the kitchen.

Comparison Table Between Fruit And Vegetables


Parameters of Comparison
FruitVegetables
IntroductionThe word fruit has different meanings in different contexts. In botany, fruits are the ripened ovaries of flowering plants.The term vegetable generally means the edible parts of plants.
SeedMust contain seed, either inside or on the outside (e.g. strawberry).Vegetables do not contain seeds.
TasteMostly sweet, sometimes tart, with bitter seeds.Not sweet or very subtly sweet. While each vegetable is distinct in taste, hardly any vegetable can be classified as sweet, sour, salty, or bitter.
NutritionLow in fat and calories, high in fiber, often high in natural sugar.Low in fat and calories, high in fiber. Startchy vegetables like beet and potato are very high in sugar.

What Are Fruits?

In a broader sense, a fruit is a part of a plant that contains seeds. In flowering plants, it is the ripened ovary that protects its seeds. Seeds are the dispersing units of angiosperms.

Animals and birds eat fruits and mediate the dispersion of seeds into different environments. Therefore, fruits are the flashy parts of plants that are usually sweet and tastier. Most fruits are available for human use in raw form.

The biological definition of a fruit is stricter and debates about the status of certain fruits such as tomatoes are still going on. In a biological sense, many fruits are true fruits while some are culinary fruits.

We use some true fruits like tomato, cucumber, peas, and eggplant as vegetables as they are not sweet. In technical terms, cereal grains are also a type of fruit.

But we consider them as edible seeds. Botanists categorize fruits into many categories such as simple fruits, aggregate fruits, and multiple fruits based on the flower type from which they originate.

What Are Vegetables?

There is no exact definition for vegetables. But we know them as edible parts of the plants. However, it should be remembered fruits and seeds are also edible parts of plants.

In addition to fruits and seeds, vegetables are the edible parts of plants. It could also be leaves as in the case of spinach, roots as in the case of radish, and flowers as in cauliflower.

As vegetables have no scientific definition, traditions and cultures play a great role in deciding the status of vegetables. For instance, many people consider mushrooms as vegetables.

Some others consider them a separate food class. When considering avocado, certain countries treat it as a fruit while other countries treat it as a vegetable.

Some vegetables are available in raw form, like carrots and radish whereas some others such as bitter gourd and ladyfinger must be cooked before eating.

Main Differences Between Fruits And Vegetables

  • Fruits have an exact botanical definition, while vegetables have no exact definition.
  • Vegetable is any edible part of a plant. Therefore, fruits can also be considered as vegetables, but we can differentiate them based on the presence of seeds.
  • Fruits are those parts of plants which contain seeds, but vegetables do not necessarily need to have seeds.
  • Fruits usually have a sugar type called fructose, which gives them a sweet taste, while vegetables are usually savoury.
  • Furthermore, we can use fruits in raw form; however, we can only use some vegetables in raw form, some need cooking before human consumption.

What Are The Similarities Between Fruits And Vegetables?

  • Fruits are vegetables are edible parts of plants.
  • They are nutritional.
  • Both are readily available.
  • Moreover, both can be used in the raw form.
  • Some fruits are considered as vegetables.
  • A balanced meal should contain both fruits and vegetables.

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