The difference between fruits and vegetables

The difference between fruits and vegetables

By Albert Mondor, horticulturist and biologist

From a culinary or gastronomic point of view, fruits are generally associated to sweet dishes such as desserts, while we tend to associate vegetables to salty dishes. However, from a botanical standpoint, vegetables can sometimes be fruits, flower buds, roots and even leaves. Here are a few examples:

  • Although they're considered vegetables in the kitchen, botanically speaking, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers are fruits, as they come from pollinated flowers. 
  • The edible parts of vegetables such as broccolis, cauliflowers and artichokes are in fact flower buds, that is, inflorescences that haven't opened yet.
  • For their part, potatoes and carrots are root vegetables as they are fleshy roots filled with nutrients such as starch.
  • Finally, lettuce, spinach and kale are leafy greens.


Blueberries, strawberries, apples and plums are fruits from both a culinary and botanical point of view.


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