Fruit or Vegetable?


Fruit is both a botanical classification and a culinary classification of plant parts.


The ripened ovary or ovaries of a seed-bearing plant, together with accessory parts, containing the seeds and occurring in a wide variety of forms.

Botany is the scientific study of plants. Botanically, a fruit is the part that is around a seed. Usually this is fleshy, but it doesn't have to be. I'm not a botanist, so if you need to know the specifics of this definition, you have probably studied it a ton in school. I've classified what is and isn't a fruit botanically, so that should suffice for most.

Notably, a fruit under this definition does not have to be sweet or even edible. It just has to contain a seed. Don't base your cooking on this definition. Really, you don't have to care about this at all.


An edible, usually sweet and fleshy form of such a structure.

"Culinarily" means in a food context. Since our main interactions with fruits is eating them, this is the context that matters to most people.

Culinarily, what is and isn't a fruit is a bit more vague. They are always things that are botanically fruits. They're fleshy. They're often colorful. They're usually very sweet, often making them used in desserts. They're usually eaten raw. You know, they're just what you would normally think of as "fruit." They're things that you would put in a fruit salad.

Science has some to say about this definition too however. Since this understanding of "fruit" is purely cultural, scientists studying culture and psychology can measure what is and what isn't considered a fruit and why. A Belgian psychological study around the turn of the turn of the century found that some typical identifying traits of fruits are:

Hopefully combining all this info and your own cultural understanding, you can understand and easily determine what is and isn't a fruit culinarily. If you still struggle with something, searching for it on this site can help you!

Subtypes of Fruits
List of Fruits