Fruit or Vegetable?


Is a Banana a Fruit or Vegetable?
Botanically, this is...
A Berry! (A type of fruit)
Culinarily, this is...

Bananas are one of the most common fruits in America. They are fruits both botanically and culinarily, although both classifications could use a bit of discussion.

Among botanists, there would be no doubt that bananas are fruit, but it may be a bit confusing from a dry reading of the technical definition. Botanical fruits are the seed-bearing parts of the plant, but you might have not noticed seeds in your bananas before. Indeed, if you plant a banana, nothing will grow. Commercial bananas do typically have small, black seeds in them, but they are very tiny and infertile. This is because no one wants to spit out seeds while eating their bananas, so modern bananas have been bred to make them insignificant. Banana plants are reproduced by cutting off and planting small offshoots called pups that grow at the base of the tree. However, despite all of this, because it is derived from the ovary, the part of the plant that ordinarily has seeds (and it actually does have seeds), it is still classified as a fruit botanically, although you shouldn’t care too much.

Culinarily, it is even more obvious. Kindergartners learn them as the fruit that stands for B. Bananas are typically eaten raw—straight from the peel even. They’re very sweet. About the only time they’re not eaten raw is when they’re made into delicious bread and eaten for dessert. It’s pretty obvious. The only ripple here is because of a subset of bananas that are used for cooking called plantains, which actually are vegetables. Ordinary bananas are still fruit though.