How is a fruit different from a vegetable?

 How is a fruit different from a vegetable?



What lies behind the words "fruit" and "vegetable," as well as the difference between the two definitions, is taught in high school in botany classes. As a rule, if your life is not connected with science, then as an adult you can easily get lost in botanical intricacies, not even mentioning the lackluster school explanations. Nothing bad will happen, but in discussions about the nature of peaches and tomatoes, there is an opportunity to beat the nuts.


We decided to repeat what we went through, to repeat this simple lesson once and for all, about which we talked with Vladimir Viktorovich Chub, director of the Botanical Garden of the Biology Faculty of Moscow State University. His response is in front of you.


Fruits and vegetables are words of Latin origin. Fructus is “fruit” and vegetables are botanical and mean “plant parts”. Apparently, with the appearance of these words in Latin, the division of the crop into fruits and vegetables appeared. This division is firmly rooted in the people - the roots of which can also be seen These words are in other languages. In the Russian language, at first, the word “vegetarian” was used to denote any edible plants, and only in the era of Peter I, the word “fruit” was borrowed from Western languages.



From a formal point of view, fruits should belong to fruits, some tubers, leaves, roots, and bulbs - to vegetables. But in everyday life, a different situation took hold, and many fruits (“fruits”) began to be classified as vegetables. There are several reasons for this. First, most likely, the technology for processing some fruits was often similar to the technology for processing vegetables. Second, this shift from one category to another was probably because some fruits were introduced along with the vegetable parts ("vegetables"). Thirdly, fruits with a neutral taste, less sweet, those that are traditionally eaten with salt are attributed to vegetables. Zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants - all these, of course, are fruits ("fruits"), but in everyday life, they are usually referred to as vegetables.


Furthermore, there is another common household criterion that allows people to determine where the fruit is and where the vegetable is. Vegetables are believed to be herbaceous plants, while fruits grow on shrubs and trees. You are improbable to take off any vegetables from the tree. This division has become entrenched in the modern world.


At the same time, sometimes some plants are difficult for people to attribute to fruits or vegetables. Take the same grape leaves from which the dolma is made. How do you call them in everyday life? The language does not dare call it a vegetable, although it is unclear how it differs in cooking from cabbage leaves. In Southeast Asia, flowers of leguminous plants are often used: they are put in salads, in soups, they are very nutritious and give a pleasant note to dishes. Therefore, these flowers grow on trees, like a fruit, but the technology of use classifies them more as a vegetable. It is difficult to call them to plant parts, but this is not a fruit either. It is also not clear how to be here. And in such cases, people use the definitions adopted in classical botany.



In classical botany, everything is different, everything is thinner and there is no division into fruits and vegetables. It is customary to indicate the part of the plant in question. Botanical scientific terminology allows you to not get confused and clearly understand which part of the plant you are dealing with. Is it true, do people need it in the kitchen? In everyday life, a common classification is more convenient - it is practical and immediately indicates the method of consumption.


The botanical terms are as follows:


Bulbs: classic onions and garlic.

Tubers: stem root - potato, taro, or rootstock (the so-called root tubers), like sweet potato.

Stems: asparagus, bamboo shoots, cabbage, which are grown to obtain a thick spherical stem.

Roots: carrots, beets, radishes.

Leaves: lettuce, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, herbs.

Inflorescences and edible flowers: capers, cauliflower, broccoli, salted gondola flowers of Georgia.

Fruits: tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra or small corn cobs, and berries are among the fruits.

Botanical parts of trees: grape leaves mentioned.

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