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What is the difference between fruits and vegetables?

Have you ever wondered what separates fruits from vegetables? What is the difference between these two categories of food? Most of us tend to think that the edible fleshy-part with seeds, which develop from the flowers of any plant, is called a fruit, whereas trunks, leaves and flowers of herbaceous plants used as food are called vegetables. But scientifically speaking, this belief is not quite correct. According to Botanists, the part of the plant containing the seed, which is produced by the ovary, is called the fruit. Whereas, the rest of the part used for food is called vegetable. Scientists have divided fruits into three basic categories: (i) fruits with pulp and seed such as apple, orange, watermelon etc., (ii) fruits with stones, such as plum, cherry, peach, etc., (iii) dry fruits, such as corn and wheat. The horticulturists have adopted a simpler method of classifying fruits – temperate fruits, tropical fruits and subtropical fruits. Temperate fruits like apples, plums, apricots, are raised in temperate climates, subtropical fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, and olives need warm or mild temperature throughout the year, while tropical fruits like mango, papaya, banana and litchis, are those that can stand frost. Surprisingly botanists categorise beans, peas, cucumbers and marrows as fruits. Whereas cabbage, turnip, radish, cauliflower, onions, potatoes — all are vegetables. Quite a confusing classification! Well, we are not the only ones confused – it baffles the entire world. The tomato was the centre of a controversy for a long time in U.S.A. until the U.S. Supreme Court declared in 1893 that tomato is a vegetable from a commercial point of view and scientifically a fruit. n

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