These 'Vegetables' Are Actually Fruits

Fruits and vegetables have been key components of the human diet for millennia. These plant-based sources of nourishment are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that keep our bodies and minds healthy. They can be prepared in countless ways to satisfy just about every palate and add bursts of flavor and texture to any dish they touch. And with so many fruits and veggies being harvested around the world, it can be challenging to keep up with all of the species and the unique differences among them.

When it comes to the identification and categorization of fruits and vegetables, lines can get a bit blurred, especially from the consumer's point of view. For instance, by now, most folks have accepted the fact that tomatoes are fruits, despite their savory profiles and common appearances in salads, soups, burgers, and other non-sweet recipes. But there are a number of other so-called veggies that, in compliance with the laws of botany, are indeed fruits. According to Healthline, by definition, fruits are derived from plants' flowers and contain seeds. On the other hand, vegetables come from the other parts of plants, including the leaves, roots, and stems — and therefore are not seed-bearing. What's more, some of these fruity revelations may even surprise you.

Based on their biologies, some vegetables are technically fruits

The next time you prepare a slice of avocado toast, keep in mind that you're spreading the pulp of a mega-popular fruit atop a piece of bread. That's right. Avocados are, in reality, berries. After all, there's a reason you remove the giant pit (i.e., the seed) from the center of the greenish, fatty interior. While so many of the edible plants we know and love don't possess a sweet character (like the majority of vegetables), many are really fruits, according to Mental Floss. Fruits, plain and simply, are the ripened, mature ovaries of plants, in addition to the contents of the reproductive system, per the New York Botanical Garden. Big fan of corn? If you look closely, individual corn kernels are ovaries with a single seed, making them official members of the fruit family. The same can be said about cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins, okra, eggplants, and peppers — all of which hold seeds within their flesh, and are therefore deemed fruits.

Other regularly misclassified, veggie-esque fruits, per Business Insider, include peas, olives, and beans. The New York Botanical Garden also explains that spices such as vanilla bean, chili pepper, fennel seeds, black pepper, and coriander are fruits, too.