Fruits and Vegetables biology lesson for kids: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th grades biology lesson.
What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable? You might think the answer is simple, but the answer you get would be different depending on if you ask a botanist (plant biologist) or a chef!
For a chef, a vegetable is any “savory” plant-based food, even those that would biologically be called fruits. That means it might be plain, spicy, or salty, but not sweet. Now that that’s out of the way, though, we can take a look at what the difference is between fruits and vegetables from a botanical perspective.
Basically, a fruit develops from the ovary of a fertilized flower and generally has seeds in it. Simple, huh? That means that a lot of things that we grew up thinking are vegetables are actually fruits: tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, bell peppers, and pumpkins are all fruits, even though they don’t taste sweet like apples and oranges. We may cook them with our vegetables and eat them in our salads, but these are all botanical fruits.
Some examples of fruits that we don’t automatically see as vegetables are peanuts shells and pea pods. The peas and peanuts themselves are seeds, and would grow into seedlings if we plant them. The shells and pods grow from the ovaries of the parent plants’ flowers, so that makes them just as much fruits as any banana, cherry, mango, or pear.
A vegetable is any other part of the plant that we eat: leaves (like spinach and kale), roots (like carrots and beets), and stems (like celery) are all vegetables. The plant uses these different parts to store nutrients, and we take advantage of that by chowing down on them.
Simple, right? Next time you see a plant-based food on your plate, think about how it grew, and which part of the plant it is. Chances are, you’ll be able to figure out whether it’s a fruit or vegetable all by yourself!