Difference between Fruit and Vegetable

Key Difference: As per botany, a fruit is the part of the plant that develops from a flower. Technically, it is the swollen ovaries of the plant. It also contains the seeds of the plants and is responsible for disseminating seeds. Botanists consider any parts of the plant, other than the fruit, to be a vegetable. This includes the stalks, leaves, roots, tubers, bulbs, and even the flower bud.

The main problem while differentiating between fruits and vegetables is that there are two ways of doing it. The official way is to categorize them as per the definition in botany. However, most people and grocery industry categorize them as per taste and previous impressions.

As per botany, a fruit is the part of the plant that develops from a flower. Technically, it is the swollen ovaries of the plant. It also contains the seeds of the plants and is responsible for disseminating seeds. Most fruits are edible, and in fact these plants once relied on humans, other animals and birds to disseminate seeds. However, some fruits such as coyote melon, holly, ivy, mistletoe, privet, snowberry, thorn apple, etc. are inedible and may even be poisonous.

Botanists consider any parts of the plant, other than the fruit, to be a vegetable. This includes the stalks, leaves, roots, tubers, bulbs, and even the flower bud. An example of each: leaves (lettuce), stalks (celery), roots (carrot), tubers (potato), bulbs (onion), and flowers (broccoli).

However, many people categorize fruits and vegetables according to the taste, as whether it is sweet or savory. Fruits like apple, peach, pear, kiwifruit, watermelon and mango, which are sweet in taste and often eaten as snack or dessert are classified as fruits, whereas fruits such as tomatoes and zucchinis, which are savory are clubbed with vegetables.

They are also categorized as per whether or not it requires cooking. Hence, sometimes the fruits and vegetables are incorrectly categorized, such as tomato, bell pepper, eggplant, okra, squash, pumpkin, green bean, cucumber, zucchini, corn kernels, and wheat grains are all technically fruits. Even spices like vanilla, paprika, allspice and black pepper are derived from berries and olive oil is made by pressing the olive fruit.

In most cases, vegetables are less sweet and rather more savory than fruits. Hence, vegetables are mainly serves as part of the main dish, whereas fruits are often served as a dessert or snack. Both fruits and vegetables can be made into juice and served as a beverage. Most fruits and vegetables may also be eaten raw. However, vegetables are often cooked. Some fruits may also be cooked and served as part of a dessert recipe. Fruits are also often made into jams, marmalade and other preserves. Some fruit may also be used to make alcoholic beverages, such as wine or brandy. Apples are often used to make vinegar. In some culture, fruits are also used for gift giving, such as fruit baskets and fruit bouquets.

There are many processed food items available on the market, which contain fruit or vegetable ingredients. However, they are derived products and hence do have the same nutritional value and integrity of the fruit or vegetable used to produce them. 

Image Courtesy: diabetic-dieting.com

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