If you think you’re a smartypants because you know a tomato is a fruit, buckle up. You’re right, but a tomato is also a vegetable. And rice is a fruit. And some of the things you think are fruits—strawberries, for example—aren’t actually what they seem.
“Vegetable” Is Not a Scientific Term
Before we get into what a fruit is, we need to talk about vegetables. You won’t open up a botany textbook and find anything about vegetables; it’s just a term that we non-scientists use to describe our food. Merriam-webster has a typical definition:
a usually herbaceous plant (such as the cabbage, bean, or potato) grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal; also : such an edible part
Claire Lower defines a vegetable, as “a plant part that is usually used in savory applications, and doesn’t have a sweet flavor.”
Glad we cleared that up.
What Is a Fruit?
There are multiple definitions of fruit. First is the one that you know when you see: apples, peaches, raspberries and so on. They typically have seeds and taste sweet.