Eat your veggies!

“Eat your veggies!”. You’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve said it, frequently, if you have kids. So, we know we should eat veggies, but do we really know what they are?

Vegetables come in many forms, flavors and colors. Some mature above ground and others below. These are features we can observe in a grocery store or a garden. But can you describe the difference between a vegetable and a fruit? Both vegetables and fruits are the edible part of a plant. But the term “vegetable” is mostly a culinary reference because there is no scientific definition for the word vegetable. However, the term “fruit” is different.

The term fruit has a true scientific definition related to its feature of forming from a fertilized flower which contains seeds. This means that many “vegetables” such as tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, beans and eggplants are technically fruits. When you shop at the grocery store, there is rarely confusion about what’s a vegetable since the culinary uses are commonly known and shared in our culture.

So, for the purposes of eating your veggies if it helps to think of a tomato as a fruit, then enjoy your fruit. Now we just need more tomato desserts—anyone up for caramel coated tomatoes or tomato popsicles?

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