Eggplant is a confusing food. It tastes like a vegetable, but it looks like it must be some kind of squash. At the same time, its most common color, purple, makes it resemble an elongated berry.
It’s only natural to be unsure exactly what eggplant is. That’s why we’ve created this brief guide about what eggplant is classified as, and what its classifications mean.
Keep reading to learn more about which categories and families eggplant is a part of.
Quick Answer: What is Eggplant Classified As?
That depends on what you’re looking at. If you’re looking for which family of plants eggplant is part of, the family is called solanaceae.
You might be looking more for whether it’s a fruit or veggie, though. In that regard, eggplant is actually considered a fruit. To get more specific, it’s a berry.
An Introduction to the Nightshade Family
We’ve written a little bit about eggplant’s classification in the nightshade family here. However, we’ll cover it again briefly in this post, too.
The nightshade family is the family of plants that eggplant comes from. Its scientific name is solanaceae.
This includes a range of other popular fruits and veggies you’ve no doubt heard of. For instance, eggplant is related to tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers, technically.
Infamously, this family also includes the poisonous deadly nightshade plant. This plant’s existence may be partially behind the inspiration for the overall family name.
Like other plants in this family, eggplant’s leaves can be dangerous to eat in high doses. However, the actual fruit part that people eat is perfectly safe.
Fruits vs Veggies: What’s the Difference?
If you’re wondering whether eggplant is a fruit or a vegetable, we’ll answer that for you, too. The interesting thing is, there isn’t just one answer to that question.
The answer will depend from which angle you look at it: culinary or botanical. We’ll explain both points of view below.
When we say botanical, we’re referring to the scientific classification for eggplant. By this definition, eggplant is considered a fruit.
That’s simply because of its structure. Because it has seeds inside it and it comes from a pollinated flower, it gets classified as a fruit.
In this same scope, a vegetable is anything that’s not considered a fruit.
Read Also: Why is Eggplant Considered a Fruit?
The culinary perspective is how the average person would look at a food. It focuses on how the plant tastes or what you can use it in.
By this definition, an eggplant is a vegetable. Why? Because it doesn’t taste sweet.
Fruits, on the flipside, do usually taste sweet and can be used in desserts. That’s the main reason why they are considered fruits from a culinary perspective.
When you first look at an eggplant, it can be difficult to describe exactly what it is. On taste alone, you’d probably just say it’s a vegetable. This is one perfect demonstration of the truth being stranger than fiction, though, because eggplant is actually a fruit.
We hope this post was a quick source of information, and that you learned a bit about this plant today. We know we certainly learned a lot about eggplant in researching the information for the post!