I thought apples were fruits. A banana is as well. A cucumber, perhaps? Something green, isn’t it? When looking at it from a botanical lens, no.
You can eat all the fruits and vegetables you want without having to earn a science degree because, nutritionally speaking, they are usually considered a group. Surprisingly, many of the things we commonly think of as veggies are actually fruits, according to science!
For example, do you think that corn, beans, bell peppers, peas, eggplant, pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes may all be considered fruits? The reason behind this is that, according to botanical principles, fruits are the organs of flowering plants that contain the seeds and are used for dispersal. Nuts are also considered fruits. Another type of fruit is grain, which is basically simply a big seed.
Now Let’s Talk About Veggies.
In botany, vegetables include not only the leaves (like spinach and lettuce), but also the roots (like radishes and carrots), stems (like celery and ginger), and even flower buds (like broccoli and cauliflower).
In a nutshell, anything that originates from a plant and contains seeds (or would have seeds if it weren’t genetically modified or cultivated to lack them, such seedless grapes) is classified as a fruit. On the other hand, anything that does not include seeds is classified as a vegetable.
Then why on earth do we find out that corn, cucumbers, and peppers are all vegetables? Why do these goods seem to be located in the vegetable area when we’re looking for them in the produce section of the supermarket? We can put it down to cultural influences in the kitchen, where the actual classification of the plant is less important than its flavor. In the kitchen, fruits tend to have a sweet flavor, whereas veggies tend to be savory and less sugary. Vegetables are a common component of most meals, particularly in healthy meal plans, but fruits are usually reserved for dessert or snack time.
As said earlier, the scientific system of classification clearly distinguishes between fruits and vegetables, in contrast to the much more vague system employed in the culinary world, which is why many people get their names mixed up. Now you are no longer puzzled, though.
The Colorful History Behind the Word “Orange”
Ever wonder why we call the color orange “orange”? Well, it all began with the fruit itself. Before the fruit arrived in Europe, the English language lacked a term for the color. When oranges made their way to the continent, they were so visually striking that they lent their name to the color. Prior to that, the hue we now know as “orange” was simply referred to as “yellow-red.” This linguistic shift is a testament to the power of a simple fruit to leave a lasting mark on language and culture.
Almonds are a staple in many diets, often thought of as nuts. However, they are not true nuts but rather seeds of the drupe fruit of the almond tree. True nuts, like acorns and chestnuts, are entirely enclosed in a hard shell, while almonds have a soft, outer hull that splits open to reveal the seed we consume. So, the next time you enjoy almonds, remember that you’re indulging in a delectable seed, not a nut.
Bananas are a beloved fruit worldwide, but their history is anything but simple. The Cavendish banana we know today was not always the reigning variety. Before its dominance, the Gros Michel banana was the favored choice. However, a devastating fungus led to the near-extinction of the Gros Michel and the rise of the Cavendish. The banana industry’s reliance on genetically identical plants has also made it vulnerable to diseases. This complex history showcases the delicate balance of nature and human influence in shaping the fruits we enjoy.
Jam vs. Jelly
Many use the terms “jam” and “jelly” interchangeably, but there’s a crucial difference. Jam is made from crushed or pureed fruit, retaining the fruit’s pulp and resulting in a chunkier texture. On the other hand, jelly is made from fruit juice, with the pulp removed, creating a smoother, translucent spread. This distinction impacts not only the texture but also the taste and versatility of these beloved fruit preserves. So, the next time you spread one on your toast, you’ll know exactly what sets them apart.
The Colorful History of Purple Carrots
Carrots are typically associated with a vibrant orange hue, but did you know that they weren’t always orange? In fact, the earliest carrots cultivated in Central Asia were purple or yellow. It wasn’t until the 17th century in the Netherlands that orange carrots gained popularity. Dutch horticulturists selectively bred orange carrots as a tribute to the House of Orange-Nassau, the ruling family at the time. The purple carrot’s historical significance serves as a reminder of the rich tapestry of agriculture and culture throughout history.
Facts to Add
China produces more vegetables than any other country. It ranks first in the world for potato, onion, cabbage, lettuce, tomato, and broccoli cultivation.
Bobbing for apples on Halloween is a lot more fun—but still not very sanitary—because apples float in water due to their 25% air content.
Although it has only been around since 1836, the Cavendish banana is currently the most popular variety offered. Also, very few shops had them in stock only a little over fifty years ago. Prior to its abrupt global extinction at the hands of a specific fungus, the Gros Michel banana reigned supreme during that era. Find out more at this link: Every single commercial banana plant is an exact replica of every other banana plant.
The idea that the forbidden fruit (which was not initially believed to be an apple) became caught in Adams’ throat after he swallowed it is whence the name “Adams apple” originated.
Bacteria can be spread via unclean cantaloupes. United States residents lost their lives in 2011 due to listeria-infected cantaloupes.
In the case of Nix v. Hedden, the US Supreme Court unanimously decided that, according to the Tariff of 1883, tomatoes should be taxed as vegetables, even though tomatoes are technically fruits from a biological standpoint.
The most beloved fruit in the world is the tomato! Annual production exceeds 60 million tons. With an annual production of 44 million tons, bananas are the second most popular fruit.
Different peppers have different heat levels. Scoville units are used to quantify the heat of peppers. They can vary from 0 (which is the heat level of a green pepper) to 1,000,000 units. The Indian bhut jolokia pepper is the only pepper known to have a Scoville rating of one million. Because of its extreme strength, the Indian militia has begun using it in grenades as a means of dispersing large groups in order to combat terrorists.
Exploring Nature’s Culinary Quirks
In our journey through the realms of botanical classifications and culinary interpretations, we’ve peeled back the layers of what we commonly call fruits and vegetables. We’ve witnessed how the color orange found its name through the introduction of a vibrant fruit, how almonds defy the nut category to be considered seeds, and how the banana’s history is marked by a delicate dance between varieties and diseases. We’ve also unraveled the sticky distinction between jam and jelly and learned that carrots, once purple, found a new identity in orange. These tales serve as a testament to the intricate relationships between food, language, and culture, highlighting the captivating intricacies that lie within our everyday culinary experiences.