Fruit or Vegetable?

You Don't Have to Care About Botanical Definitions

People often say, "Tomatoes are actually fruits!" The reason for this is largely just because they heard someone say it was true. But the reason people started saying it in the first place was because they learned about botany in school. "The fruit of the plant is the ripened ovary of a seed-bearing plant. The tomato is the fruit of the tomato plant."—something like that, maybe with a bit less nuance. However, students being young and high school science teachers not being botanists or linguists, about all that people took away was "tomato = fruit".

The missed part was that "fruit" ≠ "fruit". The word for the plant parts and the word for the things you eat might as well be two different words for the amount of overlap they have. Look at all the items that are culinarily "fruits" but not in the normal meaning.

People often characterize calling such things fruits as being scientifically true but most people being just too ignorant to know the reality. However, "science" doesn't say any such thing. It's just a botanical term used in botany. That's great when discussing botany in 10th grade science class, but useless when trying to have a conversation about food.

Approximately 99.99% of people are not botanists. If you're not a botanist, you have no reason to care about the specifics of botanical terminology. It's good to have a well-rounded education, but you have to use the right words in the right situation, and botany is not a common situation for most.

Whenever you refer to a plant product in a grocery store or a kitchen, you're referring to it it in a culinary context. As such, you should use the correct words according to their "normal" meaning—the culinary meanings. You don't have to care about botanical definitions.