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What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?

That depends on whether you’re talking about cooking or about plant biology (botany). A chef might say that a fruit is the sweet or tart part of a plant that contains a lot of sugar, while the word “vegetable” refers to edible plant parts with lower sugar content.

Scientists name plant parts by how the plant uses them, not by how we use them. Botanists talk about leaves, stems, flowers, roots, and so on. The word “vegetable” doesn’t have a scientific meaning. In botany, the fruit of a plant is the part usually containing seeds that can grow into new plants.

So botanists call the tomato a fruit, but many chefs call it a vegetable.

Image by: iStock|Grafner

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