Emilia Mikulewicz
10 months ago

Tomato - fruit or vegetable?

Each of us knows the taste of tomato very well. From the botany point of view, the tomato is a fleshy berry, which undoubtedly suggests its belonging to the category of fruit. However, due to its low sugar content, it is classified as a vegetable. So, is the popular tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

Tomato - fruit or vegetable?

From a scientific and botanical point of view, a tomato is a vegetable whose edible part consists of fruits, called berries. The classification of tomato plants and their belonging to vegetables is dictated by a small amount of sugars in the edible part and the useful purpose of the fruit.

Does the tomato have fruit? Yes of course. What we eat is nothing but fleshy and aromatic berries. The middle part of the tomato fruit is the so-called mesocarp, which was formed from the walls of the ovary. In contrast, the skin of the tomato was formed by the development of the skin that covered the perianth pistil. So the tomatoes we eat are the fruits of the tomato plant.

The structure of the tomatro flower
The structure of the tomato flower
The structure of the tomato fruit
The structure of the tomato fruit

An interesting fact is that even in the 19th century in the USA, tomatoes were considered a fruit. However, the US Supreme Court in 1893 classified a tomato as a vegetable when it was ordering tariffs on fruit and vegetables (NIX v. HEDDEN, 149 U.S. 304). Back then, an import tax was levied on vegetables, not fruit. The purpose of these activities was to protect American tomato growers from foreign competition.

Currently, it would be a mistake to call tomato plants a fruit, because we divide utility plants into, among others, vegetable plants and fruit plants (e.g. pears). The division into fruit and vegetables is also not used in the horticultural nomenclature.

Many foods, such as tomatoes, are considered fruit by botanists. However, for nutritional and culinary reasons, these products are considered vegetables, not fruit. The nutritional classification of products takes into account not only botany, but also use, taste and nutrient content. Vegetables include those fruits that are not sweet or tart. Additionally, they must be commonly eaten with other vegetables.

In conclusion, the tomato belongs to the group of nightshade vegetables that botanists believe produce edible and juicy berries. These features make the tomato uniquely and in terms of nutrition classified as a vegetable group.

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