Fruit or Vegetable?


Photo by Waqas Anees
Is an Egg a Fruit or Vegetable?

Eggs are objects produced by animals to contain their developing young. Typically when an egg is referenced as food, it refers to an unfertilized chicken egg. These are hard-shelled, about two inches, and do not contain a developing embryo. They are a common food in many cultures, and are used in a possibly unparalleled variety of ways. They can directly be cooked alone in maybe thirty different ways, but they are also an integral part in innumerable other dishes, either for their flavor or their binding properties.

As eggs are produced by animals, they are not fruits or vegetables. They are not any part of a plant. Do not confuse eggs with eggplant, which is a somewhat common vegetable. They are only related in name.

If eggs had to be classified as either a fruit or a vegetable, they would biologically be quite parallel to a fruit. Just as fruits encapsulate seeds or embryos and are integral to the reproduction of plants, chicken eggs serve as the protective encasement for the developing embryo, embodying a similar purpose in the animal kingdom. Fruits are the mature ovaries of plants, while eggs begin as the ova, which are produced by the animals’ ovaries.

Culinarily, eggs have little resemblance to either category.