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Ask the Expert Archive

I just wanted to say that I was a little disappointed to see that tomatoes and peppers are listed under veggies when they are in fact fruits.

You are correct that botanically, they are fruits because they contain seeds. However, in a cooking sense and in terms of how they are used in meals, tomatoes and cucumbers are vegetables. Believe it or not, there was an actual ruling on this issue in 1883 by the Supreme Court. That ruling acknowledged that tomatoes, as well as cucumbers, squashes, beans and peas are "fruits of the vine." However, in the common language of the people, they are vegetables because "they are usually served at dinner in, with, or after the soup, fish, or meats which constitute the principal part of the" meal, and they are not generally consumed as dessert, like fruits.

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