Do you ever go back to your inner child and think to yourself, why is the sky blue? Or why do leaves change colour in Autumn? I have always been like this, I guess you might say I have an inquisitive nature, especially when it comes to the natural world and that really I’m a big child. I have decided that every so often on a Wednesday I will do a post on “Wednesday Wonders”, things that intrigue me and perhaps they will intrigue you too. Sometimes it’s the things we take for granted in this busy world we live in or perhaps lessons we didn’t pay so much attention to when we were at school (and yes, I’m guilty of this too), but when you take a moment to appreciate the wonders that are all around you, that’s when it gets very interesting!
This week it’s all about the difference between a fruit and a vegetable.
From a young age we learn that a vegetable is something you eat during a main course meal. For us Brits in particular, vegetables are a must in our good old roast dinners. Fruit on the other hand is either a snack, something maybe you have with breakfast or even a dessert. The trickiness comes when someone tells you that a tomato, something that you’ve had with your salad all these years and considered to be a vegetable, is actually a fruit.
It’s only when you start growing your own fruit and vegetables, that you discover that it’s not only tomatoes that are actually undercover, disguised fruit in a vegetable world!
So have you ever wondered what the difference is between fruit and vegetables? There must have been a moment in everyone’s life, including my own, that we have all asked this very question. The answer is simple.
Fruits have seeds, pips and stones, vegetables do not!
In books, you will sometimes see some vegetables being referred to as fruiting vegetables. This just means that these vegetables are from the fruit family. Good examples of this are tomatoes, pumpkins, courgettes. When you are preparing your salads, take a closer look at what you are chopping up and see if you can spot any seeds hiding. You might even be surprised to find out that what you once thought was a vegetable, was in fact a fruit all along!
Out in the garden, now have a look at the plants you are growing in your vegetable garden. Do you spy any plants with flowers? If you do, these flowering plants will more than likely be growing fruit and not vegetables as you may have previously thought! Don’t be tricked, however, not all plants with flowers are fruiting vegetables. Peas, beans and mangetout, part of the legume family, are definitely out to fool us and it can often be quite confusing as to know whether they are a fruit or not.
Edible peas that sit on your dinner plate, even though they have grown in a pod that comes from beautiful, little white flowers, they themselves are not the fruits. When you take a moment to think about it, the peas in a pod are actually the seeds. If, however, you have runner beans or french beans on your plate, then you will indeed be eating fruits, because you are eating both the pods and the seeds inside.
Remember fruits contain seeds, they are not the seeds themselves!
Now for a little gardening quiz.
Which of the following do you think are fruit and which are vegetables?
- Butternut squash
Have a go to see how many you get right before having a sneaky peak at the answers below!