We know that there are many fruits referred to as vegetables, like cucumbers and eggplants, but what about the reverse? Are you looking for fruits that are vegetables instead? Let’s take a look at eight species of fruits that are actually vegetables, contrary to popular belief.
Most people either love or hate rhubarb: there is no in-between. This tart, stringy plant looks like pink celery when raw, and turns into a weird mush when cooked. It needs copious amounts of sugar to even be edible, and is usually paired with sweeter fruits like strawberries.
But guess what? According to that categorization mentioned above, rhubarb is actually a vegetable, since it’s the stalk that’s eaten, and not the fruit.
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This one’s a bit tricky, as squashes, pumpkins, and other members of the Cucurbitaceae family are technically considered fruits. That said, the reason they’re being added to this list of fruits that are vegetables is that other parts of the squash plant are also edible. In particular, squash blossoms are often stuffed and fried, and are absolutely delicious. So squashes are categorized as both fruits and vegetables.
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3. Fluted Pumpkin
In contrast to the pumpkins that North Americans grow as fruit, fluted pumpkins are grown as leafy vegetables since their fruited flesh is inedible. In fact, not only are their leaves and shoots used in all kinds of West African dishes, their delicious, fatty, nutrient-dense seeds are eaten raw, transformed into soups, and cooked into porridge.
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Now for another mind boggler. Beans also make it onto the list of fruits that are actually vegetables because they can be categorized three different ways. Their long, string-like bean parts are classified as fruits, since they develop from the flowers. The mealy seeds inside are listed as legumes, and bean sprouts—which are so delicious in phở and other Asian dishes—are vegetables!
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Yes, peas are on this list too, for the same reasons as their bean cousins above. Just like beans, peas’ green bodies and rounded seeds are fruits and legumes, respectively. But those luscious green pea shoots that can be sauteed in stir-fries are classified as vegetables instead.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Once again, we have a plant that is cross-classified. Some label these fruits as veg because their starchy, tuberous roots are so sweet that they’re used primarily in desserts, like sweet potato pie or fudge. That said, since their iron-rich, dark green leaves are also edible, these plants can also be categorized as vegetables.
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Just like their sweet potato cousins, yams are used as fruity additions to various recipes, but their edible, nutritious leaves plant them firmly into the vegetable category. Just note that some varieties’ leaves can cause belly upset, so make sure you do your research before eating them.
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Although grapes are officially fruits (in fact, they’re actually berries!), the grape plant is also considered a vegetable. This is because its leaves can also be eaten. So, although grapes themselves aren’t veggies, grape plants are also vegetables.
Ultimately, these are just botanical classifications. As a result, this shouldn’t have a huge impact on how you choose to use these ingredients. For example, sweet potato pie is great, but both those tubers and yams can be added to spicy, savory dishes like Moroccan stews or Bengali curries.
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