Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
The question, ‘Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?’ is a common one. At Tommies we consider the discussion from a practical viewpoint. Fruit and vegetables are very similar. They are both healthy because they contain vitamins, fibre, minerals and other healthy substances. They help you to stay fit and protect your health. By eating many different types of fruits and vegetables, you can be sure that you’re getting all those good nutrients. So before we answer the question, ‘Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?’, this is the most important conclusion:
Whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable, Tommies cherry tomatoes are definitely healthy!
The confusion about whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables
Why are we still asking ourselves the question, ‘Is a tomato fruit or vegetable?’ Where does this confusion come from? ‘Vegetables’ is the collective name for all the edible parts of plants. In everyday use the tomato is often seen as a vegetable; however, we only eat the fruit. This is where the confusion comes from. Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? The answer to this question depends on the perspective from which you consider the discussion. See below for all viewpoints and answers in the discussion of whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables.
The history: a tomato is a vegetable
The question, ‘Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?’ is a timeless question. In America, the age-old discussion has even been settled by the courts. In 1983 the Supreme Court determined that under U.S. law, the tomato must be regarded as a vegetable. The lawsuit was filed by an importer who refused to pay import tax on his tomatoes. At that time, vegetables were subject to import tax but fruit was not. Unfortunately for the importer, the judge concluded that tomatoes must be considered vegetables. Some people consider this to be the definitive answer to the question, ‘Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?’
From a cultural standpoint, we look at how we have become used to talking about tomatoes over the years. Do we talk about tomatoes as a fruit or as a vegetable? And how do we treat tomatoes in everyday life? From a cultural perspective, we can see the tomato as a vegetable. We talk about tomatoes as a vegetable more often than as a fruit. At the supermarket the tomatoes are mostly in the vegetable department, amongst the other vegetables.
In the horticultural industry, the tomato is a vegetable
How does the horticultural industry consider the question, ‘Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?’ In horticulture, vegetable-growing and fruit-growing are classified in the following way:
– Everything that grows on a herbaceous plant is a vegetable
– Everything that grows on a woody plant is a fruit.
Within the horticultural industry the tomato is therefore seen as a vegetable, and not as a fruit. The fact is that tomatoes grow on a herbaceous plant and not on a woody plant.
Another argument made by horticultural experts that a tomato is a vegetable and not a fruit is that tomatoes grow on annual plants. In vegetable cultivation, the plant is finished when the vegetables are harvested. This is also the case with tomatoes.
Botanically seen, a tomato is a fruit
Neither ‘vegetable’ nor ‘fruit’ is a botanical term. ‘Vegetables’ may indicate all the edible parts of a plant. Botanically seen, fruits, flowers, leaves and stems are all categorised under ‘vegetables’. More specific ‘fruit’ is the part of a plant that contains the seeds. Within the botanical world you can therefore best describe a tomato specifically as a fruit, rather than as a vegetable.
The culinary world: tomatoes are vegetables
In the kitchen, fruits and vegetables are differentiated based on when you eat them:
– Everything that is eaten as an entrée or main course is a vegetable
– Everything that is eaten as dessert is a fruit
So is a tomato then a vegetable or a fruit? Although Tommies cherry tomatoes can be eaten at any time, we mainly use tomatoes in entrées and main courses. From a culinary perspective the tomato is therefore clearly a vegetable.
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? The answer from Tommies
As we stated earlier, for Tommies the most important thing is the healthy nutrients in tomatoes, whether we call them fruit or vegetables. By reading the above you can see that the discussion about tomatoes as fruits or vegetables can be considered from many points of view. That’s why we came up with a great term invented for our healthy and delicious snack products: fruit veggies!