Eggplant is one confusing food. It tastes like something you’d think of as a veggie, but it’s technically a kind of fruit.
If you get even more specific than just fruit, eggplant is truthfully a berry. But why is eggplant a berry?
It’s a question for the ages if you’re a foodie. Keep reading, and we’ll give you the answer and an explanation as to why the answer is true.
Quick Answer: Why is Eggplant a Berry?
Eggplants are berries because of the way they grow and their structure. Berries are fleshy fruits that grow without a pit in the middle. They must also come from one flower with one ovary.
Since they fit that description, eggplants are berries.
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What Classifies Something as a Berry
Botanical definitions are the scientific classifications for plants. We need to look at these classifications to see in more detail why eggplants are berries, as well as what other foods are berries.
We’ll start with the broader definition of fruit. Put simply, a fruit is just the part of a flowering plant that contains the seeds. Simple, right?
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The definition of berry, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated. All berries are fruits, but not all fruits are necessarily berries.
As we mentioned before, berries are fruits that don’t contain a pit, but grow from one flower with an ovary. Aside from eggplants, other examples of berries include tomatoes, grapes, and bananas.
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The Two Ways of Classifying Foods
The interesting thing about food classification, though, is that not everyone defines something in the same way. There are actually two big ways of classifying food: botanical and culinary.
We’ll describe each one in a bit more detail for you.
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You can think of botanical definitions as the scientific ones. These are what scientific officials will use to define individual plants.
The problem with botanical fruit classifications is that they’re quite complex. Understanding the reasoning behind them can be extremely difficult, and the average person doesn’t have the time to learn all the categories.
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The average person and culinary professionals tend to define foods differently. Before reading this article, if you were asked to classify an eggplant, you’d say it’s a vegetable. Most people would agree with you.
This is called the culinary classification. Chefs tend to define foods based on their flavor profiles and how they’re used. Fruits are foods which are sweet, and vegetables are savory plants.
The world of food classification is weirder than you’d think at first. What you think is a vegetable could be a fruit and vice versa.
While it’s true that eggplant is technically a berry, what matters most is how you choose to use it. What can be said about it at the end of the day is that it’s a savory and tasty plant that can be used in tons of dishes.