Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables?


Quick Answer

Tomatoes are considered fruits, based on botanical standards. The long-held confusion regarding the classification of tomatoes stems from the differences in terms of scientific and culinary usage.

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Full Answer

Science categorizes a true fruit as the part of a plant that bears its seeds, a definition to which tomatoes adhere. Cooks, meanwhile, define a vegetable as the edible parts of a plant that impart a savory taste. Since tomatoes generally have a meaty flavor and are used in savory dishes, they are classified as vegetables in the culinary world. To further the confusion, the United States Supreme Court decreed in 1893 that tomatoes were vegetables for tariff purposes. The fact remains, however, that tomatoes are fruits according to the scientific community, regardless of the ruling.

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