The Plants We Eat: Fruits


When is a fruit a vegetable?

Fruits: the plant part that contains seeds. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers, and eggplant are the fruit of the plant, although they are designated as vegetables if categorized by food group.

SNAP educational resource, “Growing Healthy Habits: Parts of the Plant We Eat”, pg. 67

Although bean and okra pods are technically fruit, the fruits we usually eat are grouped according to how their seeds grow.

Berries usually have seeds throughout the fleshy interior. Tomatoes, blueberries, and grapes are berries.

  • Pepos are berries with a hard, thick rind, like melons and winter squash. Other cucurbits, like cucumbers and summer squash, are also pepos.
  • Hesperidiums are berries with a leathery rind, like citrus fruits. Their seeds and pulp are in membrane-covered sections.

Drupes, or “stone” fruit, have a single seed enclosed in a pit and surrounded by pulp with a thin skin. Peaches and other members of the prune family are drupes.

Pomes have a central ovary, or seed cluster, surrounded by pulp and a think skin. They include apples and pears.

Aggregates have many tiny fruits, from a single flower. Blackberries, and raspberries have each seed surrounded by pulp and a thin skin. Fruit like strawberries have seeds imbedded in the fleshy pulp.

So … many vegetables are also fruits!


If you want your tomatoes to be sweet, here is a recipe:
Of course, fully ripe homegrown tomatoes are sweet off the vine!

For sweet cucumbers, a classic salad:
I like to bring the sugar and liquids to a boil before pouring over the cucumber and (sweet) onion.

Whole wheat zucchini bread:

Something different in a fruit salad:

More About the Plants We Eat: