Uncommon Knowledge

Uncommon Knowledge: Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables?

April 8, 2013

This question is not as simple as it may seem. The smarty-pants out there will quickly state that the tomato is a fruit. Botanically speaking, fruits are classified as the seed-bearing part of a flowering plant, a description which includes not only tomatoes, but also such produce as cucumbers, eggplants and pumpkins. But because they are not sweet, such foods are still also considered to be vegetables when it comes to food preparation. The distinction is surprisingly important, because it turns out that fruits and vegetables have different legal implications. So important, in fact, that the U.S. Supreme Court once had to step in and make the call. In 1893, in the case of Nix v. Hedden, the Court ruled that, when it comes to taxes and tariffs, the tomato is legally a vegetable.

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  • Reply Jen May 3, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Tomatoes are fruit. Part of the nightshade family. People were scared of them for years cause they thought they were poisonous.

  • Reply Jen May 3, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Tomatoes were also called the love apple

  • Reply Nathan Christensen May 4, 2013 at 10:12 am

    Good research, Jen!

    Did you know the tomato has also been called the Wolf Peach? It was believed that witches planted them to summon werewolves!

  • Reply Jen May 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Just knowledge I know cause I used to be a chef

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