1 min read
14 Feb

"Eat your vegetables or you will be short forever!" 

My grandmothers words haunt me every time I prepare a plate of food. So making sure my children eat their fair share has been done since they filled my womb. They rarely eat meat and when they do it is only seafood, turkey, or chicken. My husband and myself eat 3 pescatarian meals a week and the rest are all vegetarian so the meals in my household are very different from the little ones.  

Eating in this manner allows for an array of vegetables to become the main course and center of attention. With so much focus on vegetables, I almost forgot to mention that I am actually talking about fruits. 

The day I learned the truth about fruits and vegetables was honestly not too long ago. The conversation started with vegetables and a great recipe. Suddenly, a hot debate over spelling Acerola (a west-Indian cherry) turned into a food anatomy lesson that I had to share.

The pyramid food chart that I remember from childhood, pictured many of the same things I associate as a vegetable today but are in fact, really fruits. 

Associating sweet or savory flavors with a fruit or vegetable is technically incorrect, however, that is what I learned in school and also taught my kids. Never did I question it or my teachers. Now I have to ask those questions because my kids expect me to tell them factual information.  

Vegetables are actually the edible parts of a plant like the leaves, seeds, bulbs, tubers, roots, or stems. 

Fruits are the edible reproductive parts of a plant.

According to Wikipedia and by botanical definition alone, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants formed from the ovary after the plant flowers. However, in most kitchens around the world, the following vegetables are technically fruit that have been called by the wrong name: 

  1. Avocados
  2. Beans
  3. Corn
  4. Cucumbers
  5. Eggplants
  6. Green Beans
  7. Okra
  8. Olives
  9. Peapods
  10. Peppers (All of them!)
  11. Pumpkin
  12. Squash
  13. Tomatoes
  14. Zucchini   

The fact that humans have collectively decided to forgo science and use incorrect labels on the most important terms for our food has surprised me the most. 

Without blaming whomever started this fad of misleading information, I would like to ask, "Can we change our perception of what a fruit and vegetable is or will we continue to use false labels because they feel good and are familiar?".

Now that you know the truth, pass it on. Oh, and have fun telling people (mostly the kids), "We're having fruit instead of vegetables tonight!".   

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