Are bell peppers fruits or vegetables? If you have ever asked yourself this question, keep reading
In this article, we will answer the question; are bell peppers fruits or vegetables, explore how fruits and vegetables are classified, and tell you about some other vegetables that are really fruits.
Are bell peppers fruits or vegetables, and why?
Bell peppers are fruits though some would argue that they are both fruits and vegetables.
By botanical definition, fruits are the mature ovaries of flowering plants. They contain seeds and are a vital part of the plant’s reproductive cycle.
On the other hand, botanists consider any edible part of a plant not involved in reproduction vegetables. So, scientifically only roots, stems, leaves are vegetables.
Chefs, on the other hand, have very different definitions of fruits and vegetables. Culinary professionals classify foods by taste. To them, fruits have a tart or sweet taste and are suitable for snacks, juices, or use in desserts. Vegetables are savory and best used in side dishes or main courses.
To a chef, bell peppers are a vegetable. To a botanist, they are fruit.
How are fruits and vegetables classified?
How vegetables are classified depends on who you are talking to; scientists, nutritionists, or culinary professionals.
Botanists and others in similar fields use several different methods to classify fruits and vegetables. The most common way is grouping them by botanic family. Still, they also use systems based on the part of the plant, color, total antioxidant capacity (TAC), and contained food components.
Nutritionists use a system that combines elements from several different fields. They have found that the following groupings best predict the nutritional values of foods.
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Cabbage family vegetables
- Allium family bulbs
- Deep orange/yellow fruits
- Roots and tubers
- Citrus family fruits
- Tomatoes and other red vegetables and fruits
- Blue/red/purple/ berries
Culinary professionals and others in the food industry generally classify fruits and vegetables by taste and use. Sweet and savory are the two largest categories, but depending on the particular style of cuisine being discussed, there is an entire litany of possible terms used.
Other common vegetables that are really fruits
Bell peppers are not alone in being called vegetables while technically being fruits. Here is a shortlist of other common vegetables that are really fruits.
- Bitter gourd
- Chili peppers