How to Identify Fruit and Vegetable

Fruits and vegetables are indispensable components of a balanced diet. Most provide an array of vitamins and minerals that play vital roles in the body's organic processes. They also help reduce the risk of major health issues, are high in fiber, and are virtually free of fat and cholesterol. But determining whether a piece of produce is a fruit or a vegetable can be confusing. Botanists give a very clinical definition of fruit. But society largely differentiates between the two based on custom and usage. If you want to learn how to identify fruits and vegetables, follow these guidelines.


  1. Image titled Identify Fruit and Vegetable Step 1
    Identify the special characteristics of fruit. Fruit is the fleshy, edible part of a plant that contains its seeds. In botanical terms, the fruit is the mature, ripened ovary of the plant. There are 4 basic types of fruits: simple, multiple, aggregate and accessory. They are categorized on the basis of their development.
    • Simple: These types of fruits come from flowers with a single pistil, which is the female reproductive part of a plant, and contain 1 or more seeds. Among this type, the berry family may be the broadest category. Besides the common notion of berries, this genus includes tomatoes and fruits with a hardened skin (e.g., watermelons) or a rind (like most citrus). The edible portion of pomes, which include apples and pears, is partly from the stem of the plant, sometimes including them in the accessory-fruit category. Single, hard-pitted fruits are called drupes, and include apricots, plums, peaches and olives.
    • Aggregate: These kinds of fruits are produced by flowers with more than one pistil. Most berries are aggregates.
    • Multiple: Multiple fruits come from a cluster of flowers that coalesce, producing a single mass. Pineapples are a common multiple fruit.
    • Accessory: This kind of fruit differs from most in that part of it isn't directly derived from the ovary. Strawberries, which have numerous carpels on their surface, are accessory fruits, as are figs.
  2. Image titled Identify Fruit and Vegetable Step 2
    Understand the qualities of vegetables. Vegetables are the edible, non-reproductive parts of plants commercially grown and harvested for consumptions. Their botanical designation is herbaceous plant. Some examples of common vegetables types are:
    • Leaf: Spinach, arugula, romaine lettuce, and kale are cultivated primarily for their nutrient-dense, dark-green leaves.
    • Stem/stalk: Celery and asparagus are among the most-popular stem vegetables.
    • Roots: Root vegetables have leafy stems, but the edible portion develops underground. Carrots, radishes, rutabaga and turnips are popular.
    • Bulbs: Like their root counterparts, bulb vegetables are dug up from the ground during harvesting. Onions are the most common type of bulb vegetable, but the family also includes shallots, chives and garlic.
    • Tubers: Similar to bulb vegetables, tubers include potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes.
    • Inflorescence: These types grow as a cluster on a single stem. Broccoli, cauliflower and artichokes are leading inflorescence vegetables.
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    Consider the distinguishing features of unusual comestibles. Nuts, grains and legumes are seldom thought of as fruits because of how they're consumed. But because of how they develop inside the plant, they are fruits.
    • Grains: Cereal grasses are harvested for their fruit, commonly known as grain. Grains are the world's most abundant food crop and include wheat, corn and rice.
    • Nuts: In and culinary terms, nuts are broadly defined as any edible seed or kernel encased in a brittle shell. Peanuts, pistachios, almonds and walnuts are considered nuts, but they don't meet the botanical standards of true nuts. True nuts do not split along a seam when ripe. Hazelnuts, chestnuts and acorns fall into this category.
    • Legumes: This variety of fruit is often categorized incorrectly. Legumes have 2 opposite seams running along the length of their pods, which contain their fruit. Peanuts, beans, soybeans and peas are legumes. Technically, they are fruits because the seeds are found inside the hard ovary of the plant.


  • Many fruits and vegetables are mistaken for one another because of their customary roles in cuisine. Tomatoes, peppers, avocados, squashes and cucumbers are all fruits, but are mostly served in salads and as side dishes to the main course at dinner.

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Categories: Fruits and Vegetables | Botany