Are tomatoes fruits or vegetables

Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable? There is quite a bit of confusion as to the assignment of Solanum lycopersicum. Anyone who grows the heat-loving plants from the nightshade family (Solanaceae) in the greenhouse, outdoors or in pots on the balcony or terrace commonly speaks of tomatoes as a vegetable. The tomato was even considered an ornamental plant until the 18th century. In 1778 it appeared under the heading vegetables in the seed catalog of a French company. But is this classification correct or isn't the tomato more of a fruit?

Is the tomato a fruit?

When distinguishing between fruits and vegetables, there are different definitions. From the point of view of botanists, the tomato is clearly a fruit, because it emerges from a pollinated flower. Conversely, one could conclude that tomatoes are not a vegetable, because all other edible parts of the plant belong to it. These can be, for example, flowers (artichokes), leaves (spinach) or tubers (potatoes). In addition, from a botanical point of view, the tomato fruits are berries. According to this view, one could actually assume that tomatoes are fruit.

On the other hand, however, there are some definitions that speak for tomatoes as a vegetable. In horticulture, one speaks of fruit when the fruit comes from woody plants such as trees or bushes. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are the fruits of herbaceous plants - they are therefore a vegetable. In the context of the definition of food, the vegetation cycle of the plants is important. We only speak of fruit when the plants bear fruit for many years in a row. This is only the case with tomatoes in their warm homeland - we usually cultivate them as an annual and we sow them anew every year. According to this definition, tomatoes are also considered vegetables.

What else speaks for tomatoes as a vegetable?

Another point that speaks for tomatoes as a vegetable is the low sugar content of the fruit. 100 grams of tomatoes only contain around 2.5 grams of sugar. In the case of fruit, the sugar content is usually higher, so that it tastes sweet. In terms of our eating habits, too, we use tomatoes more like vegetables. The fruits can be used to prepare numerous hearty dishes such as soups, casseroles or sauces that are refined with spices. However, the fruits do not necessarily have to be cooked: Tomatoes also taste good raw in salads. However, this aspect would speak more in favor of tomatoes than fruit.

Conclusion: Tomatoes are a fruit vegetable

When it comes to tomatoes, botanists talk about fruit vegetables. The edible fruits arise from the pollinated flowers of annual cultivated, herbaceous useful plants. They are therefore not a fruit: The fruit vegetables are lined up next to leaf, tuber, root or onion vegetables. In addition to tomatoes, some other fruits from plants that need warmth also count as fruit vegetables, including peppers, peppers, cucumbers, pumpkins, eggplants and melons. Watermelons and sugar melons are also vegetables, although they taste rather sweet. Regardless of how tomatoes are called: Ultimately, everyone decides for themselves how they would like to prepare the aromatic treasures - some people taste them themselves in a fruit salad.

Do tomatoes belong to the fruit or vegetable?

Tomatoes are fruits because they arise from fertilized flowers. From a botanical point of view, tomatoes are not a fruit, but a fruit vegetable. The nightshade plants that need warmth are usually cultivated annually and are sown anew every year like other vegetables.

Sowing tomatoes is very easy. We show you what you need to do to successfully grow this popular vegetable.
Credit: MSG / ALEXANDER BUGGISCH