Fruit or Vegetable?

From a gardener’s perspective a tomato is a fruit. It forms from the ovary of a flower and contains seeds. Therefore it is a fruit.

Now a cook might tell you different because tomatoes are not often used to sweeten a dish. They are served as vegetables so they are vegetables. Right?

Tell me your opinion for a chance to win an awesome Garden Patch Grow Box™ and a packet of ‘Jelly Bean’ and Roma tomato seeds from my Bountiful Best collection from Ferry-Morse Seed Company.

The winner will be announced Wednesday March 7, 2012.*

Congrats to Debbie Chen! She’s the winner of a Garden Patch Grow Box™. We suggest planting it with tomatoes!

*Winner will be selected by P. Allen Smith and his staff based on the merit of their comment. Click here to read the official rules and legal mumbo jumbo.

263 Responses to Fruit or Vegetable?

  1. Maria says:

    They are a fruit, or so we learned in school, but as far as I see it, they are the most delicious summer vegetable there is!

  2. richard jones says:

    raw it is a fruit, cooked it is a vegatable

  3. Joe Shuhy says:

    Fruit, just ask them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Peggy Brown says:

    Seeing as how I went to Grammar school in the early 40s, I call it
    Tomatoe. We cruised the San Juan Islands in 1964 when I was pregnant with my third child and I craved tomatoes so much that we kept putting into port so we could buy them. I still like them fresh, canned, or in any recipe. Go Tomatoes.

  5. Kathy Saad says:

    You can call them whatever you want…mostly a vegetable but could see with so many different varities out there could be a fruit also..especially the cherry ones that you just pick and eat right away…there are so many different colors, flavors and shapes that they are delicious any way you want them….making me anxious about starting the garden already and it’s not even March yet.

  6. Keith says:

    Botanically, a fruit is a ripened ovary that contains seeds. If the portion of the plant you eat contains seeds (or is supposed to in the case of “seedless” hybrids), it is a fruit. Therefore, pepos such as cucumbers, squash, melons, eggplants and pomes such as apples and pears, and citrus such as oranges and lemons and aggregate fruits such as strawberries and pineapple and true berries such as blueberries and tomatoes are all fruits.

    If the plant matter you are eating is another portion of the plant such as the leaf (spinach), petiole (rhubarb), root (carrot), flower (broccoli), or tuber (potato), it is a vegetable.

    In regards to culinary usage, it depends on how the cook utilizes the flavors of the fruit or vegetable. In cooking, fruit flavors are often relegated as sweet or sour, and vegetable flavors are usually generalized as savory. However, this is not always the case. A good example is rhubarb. It is technically a petiole (vegetable), but it is mainly eaten as a sweetened “fruit”. Lemons, a true fruit, are often used in savory fish dishes.

    I think we need to think beyond single purposes of plants. Maple trees can provide us with lumber and syrup. Nasturtiums’ showy flowers can be viewed or eaten.Even the lowly dandelion is entirely edible from flower to root.

  7. Lisa L. says:

    I’ve always thought of tomatoes as a vegetable because that is how I grew up with them, in salads and italian dishes. But recently I learned on a cooking show that in Mexico they use the tomato or the tomatillo as a fruit or vegetable. They make fruit tarts utilizing tomatillos, cinnamon, sugar and walnuts which looked delicious! So now because of another culture, my perspective on tomatoes has changed.

  8. peg wolfe says:

    I side with the botanically-correct crowd. Just because one uses a “fruit” as a “vegetable” doesn’t MAKE it a veg. Ponder this: what of the cucurbit family, comprised of technical fruits which include both usages, e.g., cucumbers and zucchini v. watermelons and muskmelons (or the swings-both-ways pumpkin)?

    Science is your friend!

  9. Deb Short says:

    The tag you attach to a tomato is not nearly as important as knowing what it’s called around our house: the perfect complement to some pepper bacon, iceberg lettuce, two slices of bread, and a dollop of mayonnaise!

  10. Barry Mc says:



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