Mixing Helpfulness and Humor Since 2005

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

To-mah-to Tip of the Day

Are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable? Turns out, it depends who you ask.

Botanically, they are a fruit. By definition, a fruit is the ripened ovary, together with the seeds, of a flowering plant. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, squash and pumpkins, therefore, are all fruits.

However, culinarily, they are a vegetable. In cooking terminology, vegetables can be used as part of a main dish, whereas fruits are used for side dishes or desserts. True, there are exceptions, but any chef worth his salt (ha!) knows that you wouldn't put tomatoes in a fruit salad.

As a result, tomatoes are legally considered a vegetable. In the 1800s, the United States had tariffs on imported vegetables, and farmers wanted to know whether tomatoes would incur a tariff or not. In 1887, the Supreme Court ruled that fruits and vegetables should be classified by usage, following the culinary definition, and that tomatoes were therefore legally a vegetable.

So now you know.


Blogger Andy said...

what?? no comments yet on this very controversial topic??

18 April, 2006 16:36

Blogger Pete said...

Ya, I totally agree with you. Kris where are you? I know you have some opinions about tomatoes. Andy, maybe it's just because you wrote with such authority.

18 April, 2006 16:45

Blogger Andy said...

hahaha, I am only the mouthpiece for my muse

and by "my muse" I clearly mean "the maniacal voices in my head" and by "mouthpiece" I clearly mean "iron fist of judgment"

18 April, 2006 17:20

Blogger Kris said...

Sure I have tomato opinions, but today has been a VERY long day...no time for posting. I agree with Andy though. As a science teacher, I agree with the biological definition. But, I can see that since most politicians are not that bright, how they would go with the culinary use opinion. And tomatoes may not go well in the typical fruit salad, but we add walnuts and the like. And, ever heard of polanesian chicken? Main dish with pineapple and apricots (both clearly fruits)...I'm sorry, but the culinary definition holds no weight, as clearly anything (except perhaps chocolate) can be used as a main dish! What about fruit on your pancakes or waffles in the morning? Is that not a main dish?

18 April, 2006 23:23


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