Food & Drinks

10 Fruits and Vegetables: Do You Know the Difference?

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10 Fruits and Vegetables: Do You Know the Difference?

Ever confused a berry with a fruit or treated a fruit as a vegetable? If you have you're definitely not alone. It's easy to confuse the difference between a fruit and a vegetable, especially when it comes to cooking. 

For culinary purposes fruits and vegetables can often confuse cooks, masquerading as either, or both, depending on sweetness and preferred cooking techniques.

But scientifically speaking, there are actually a great many differences between fruits and vegetables, and that's not to mention berries and fungi, and don't even get us started on accessory fruits.

Let's take a closer look at how to avoid the most common mistakes.. 

What is the Difference Between a Fruit and a Vegetable?

What is a fruit?

As a general rule all fruits contain seeds.

What is a vegetable?

If something comes from the leaves, stems or roots, then we are talking vegetables.

Still confused? SciShow host Hank Green gives a fun explanation about what makes a fruit a fruit, a vegetable a vegetable and a capsicum ... a berry.

That said it's not always clear cut, and it's very easy to make common mistakes with popular fruit and vegetables that can be ambiguous.

Here's the lowdown on identifying 10 top fruits and vegetables, and those in between.

1. Mushrooms ... are neither fruit nor vegetable  

Most experts know that mushrooms are neither a plant nor a fruit; they don't come from flowers, they also have neither seeds nor roots and don't need light to grow. Mushrooms are, in fact, fungi.

Did you know that it's almost impossible to overcook a mushroom?

2. Rhubarb ... is a vegetable

Photo: Cory Doctorow/Flickr

Commonly mistaken for a fruit, rhubarb is often used to make desserts, making it easy to think its sweetness lends it to being less of a vegetable.

Here are some delicious rhubarb recipes, so you can enjoy this tart and colourful fruit.

3.  Olives are ... fruit


Olives are born from the seeds of olive trees, making them easy to define as a fruit. However, when it comes to culinary use they are commonly treated more like a vegetable in savoury cooking due to their bitter or salty taste.

Learn 26 other facts about olives, from A-Z.

4. Corn ... is a combination

Cobs are a little more complicated in that they are technically a fruit, but can also be considered a grain, like wheat or barley, and even a vegetable, making them a combination of all three.

Here are 5 tasty corn recipes to enjoy this summer.

5. Aubergine or eggplant ... is a fruit

Aubergine are technically fruits, and can be further classified as berries and contain numerous soft seeds that can be eaten. Aubergines are also usually cooked before eating, making them easily confused as a vegetable.

6. Okra ... is a fruit

We're sorry to disappoint you, but although okra is very much treated as a vegetable, both for its cooking and flavour profile, it's actually a fruit.

7. Capsicums ... are a berry

Peppers are confusing in that they are most commonly treated as a vegetable in the kitchen, but in fact are neither a vegetable nor a fruit, but a berry. They come from a single ovary and have multiple seeds.

8. a fruit

Pumpkins contains seeds, even if extremely large, making them easily recongisable as a fruit even if cooked as a vegetable.

Here are 10 easy ideas with the orange gourd.

9. Peas are ... a fruit

Peas are the seeds in a pod, or seeds of the fruit of the plant. This automatically makes them fruit, although they are most commonly confused as a vegetable for their culinary use.

10. Strawberries ... are neither fruit nor vegetable

And last, but by no means least this popular summer treat surprisingly can't be classified as a fruit or even a berry. They are in fact accessory fruits.

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