When you think about fruits, what comes to mind? Apples? Pears? Grapes?
It may surprise you that many of the ‘vegetables’ we eat are actually, by technical standards, fruits!
Fruits are designated not by the virtue of being sweet and juicy, but rather by their seeds. Broccoli and kale are veggies, sure, but anything with seeds in it, regardless of how bitter it tastes, is a fruit.
Here’s a list of produce that you may be surprised to find are fruits masquerading as vegetables:
- Eggplants – These are technically classified as berries.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes are legally vegetables (they are subject to vegetable tax), but they’re scientifically fruits.
- Cucumbers – Cucumbers are fruits that hang off vines.
- Green beans – Green beans are fruits because they have seeds inside.
- Bell peppers – The white seeds in bell peppers make them fruits.
- Olives – The pit inside of the olive makes it a fruit of the olive tree.
- Avocados – Avocados, like eggplants, are considered to be berries.
- Okra – Okra has white, round seeds inside, making it a fruit.
- Peas – Peas, like green beans, contain seeds inside.
- Corn – The individual kernels are fruit, but corn on the cob is a vegetable.
- Zucchinis – Like cucumbers, zucchinis have seeds inside that are edible and unnoticeable.
Benefits of low-sugar fruits
Due to the low sugar content in these fruits, you can still consider them for your daily serving of vegetables. They contain micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals just like other veggies, and some of them pack nutrients you can’t get from authentic vegetables, like unsaturated fats. (Olives and avocados are loaded with these “healthy” fats). In fact, you can even substitute milk or cream with avocados to make desserts like ice cream or smoothies.
Fruits aren’t as bitter
One other advantage these vegetable-like fruits have is that they tend to taste less bitter than their seedless counterparts.
Some people have tastebuds that are hyper-sensitive to bitterness, making greens like spinach or kale unbearable to eat. But you can cook undercover fruits like peas, zucchinis, and green bell peppers the same way you could cook vegetables (sir-fried or steamed), while avoiding that bitter taste!
At the end of the day, it’s the nutrients inside these plants that your body requires, not a set number of fruit and a set number of vegetables. The exact distinction is hardly as important.