April 05, 2005

But It Has Seeds

The Volokh Conspiracy tackles the age-old question that has plagued humanity since we evolved from non-consumerist monkeys: are tomatoes a fruit or a vegetable?

Some people like to say it's a vegetable or that it's BOTH a fruit and a vegetable. The division is pretty simple. I always learned (and Googling gives a number of scince-y websites that agree) that the division is basically seeds. Tomatoes have seeds, apples, oranges and grapes have seeds, lettuce, celery and carrots do not have seeds. By this definition, squash, cucumbers, peas and green beans are all fruit, too.

People assume the tomato is a vegetable because it's not sweet like a banana, an apple or an orange. That's like assuming a Sphynx cat isn't a mammal because it's hairless.

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