What Fruits Are Actually Vegetables?

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Is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? The answer may surprise you.
Is a cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? The answer may surprise you. (Image: cucumber image by Zbigniew Nowak from Fotolia.com)

Although you think it'd be easy to tell the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, people often tend to get the two confused. That's because fruits are often associated with a sweet flavor, while vegetables are more earthy on the palette. Despite the fact that these generalizations are correct most of the time, there are times when this supposition can steer you wrong. To help settle any future disputes you may have with another person, know this: fruits are defined as edible plant structure surrounding a seed or seeds.

Cucumber

Despite common beliefs, a cucumber actually qualifies as a fruit, not a vegetable. It's often mistaken for a vegetable because of how it's used in the kitchen. In botanical terms, though, a cucumber is technically a fruit because of the seeds that grow inside. These seeds contain the genetic material of the plant. In other words, you can use them to grow more cucumbers. Whenever a food item can do this, it's considered a fruit.

Bell Pepper

Despite the fact that bell peppers are often used in recipes like vegetables, this brightly hued food is actually a fruit. That's because you can take the seeds from within the bell pepper and plant them to create another bell pepper fruit.

Corn

Corn is another prime example of a fruit disguised as a vegetable. In fact, most people will go their entire lives believing that corn is of the vegetable variety. They would be incorrect. This is so based on the same reasoning used for the cucumber and bell pepper. The seeds, or kernels, are actually tiny embryonic plants that harbor proteins and other materials. This allows the kernel to be replanted and grown into more corn. If you want to get technical, corn is considered a "dry fruit."

Tomato

The tomato is a controversial garden item when it comes to fruits versus vegetables. The dispute is a long one, but the scientific reality is this: tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables. Again, this is because the seeds are located within the edible portion of the plant structure.

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