Tomatoes were always referred to as vegetables in my house, so I never knew that tomatoes were really fruits. Conflicting information from my major source of information growing up (my parents) and very questionable sources (my peers) had me stubbornly hanging on to paternal knowledge that was handed down to me. Well, mom and dad were wrong and my friends were right, score one for teenage rebellion and questioning authority – Tomatoes are a fruit.
Technically speaking the tomato is the fleshy part of the fruit that encases the seed, anything that carries the seed is a fruit. The development of fruit is how plants entice animals to eat the fruit, carry the fruit away and eventually deposit it somewhere else. So anything that develops from an ovary of a flower is a fruit – if it has seeds it’s a fruit.
Tomatoes don’t have the sweet taste of citrus fruit that most of us have come to “think” of as fruit. For many fruit is dessert not the main course of a meal, and since tomatoes are usually part of the main course (spaghetti, soups, etc.), culturally, we’ve come to think of it as a vegetable.
There is legal precident for the tomato being a vegetable. In the late 1800s there was a duty imposed on vegetables in the United States, and back then the tomatoes status was not clear either, was it a fruit or a vegetable? The US supreme court handed down the ruling that the tomato was a vegetable because of the use of tomatoes as a main meal item.
Science is not the consensus of what everyone thinks, it deals in fact. Tomatoes share a method of propagation that other fruits use. The particular use of the tomato doesn’t change the fact that the tomato is a fruit, and the definition imposed by a higher authority still will not change the fact that if it starts life like a fruit, grows like a fruit and acts like a fruit it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t look like a fruit.
So, tomato fruit or vegetable, it’s obviously a fruit used like a vegetable – simply put