Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables
By Claire Miles - January 15, 2022

If tomatoes are fruits, bananas are berries and strawberries are not real berries, what is the difference between fruits and vegetables? The truth is the definitions of the words “fruit” and “vegetable” are more complicated than they seem. This is what you need to know, though.

Table Summary

Botanical perspective: Seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plantBotanical perspective: All other plant parts, including roots, leaves and stems
Culinary perspective: SweetCulinary perspective: Savory
Red, yellow and green Bell Peppers are seen stacked side by side in a farmers market display.

Getty Images / Moment / Amit Basu Photography


Botanically speaking, fruits are seed-bearing structures that develop from the ovary of a flowering plant. Plain and simple. However, when it comes to culinary terms, fruits are more complicated than that. Culinary fruits are always sweet.

This is why there are so many culinary fruits that are botanically vegetables. Eggplants, bell peppers and tomatoes, for example, are all botanical vegetables but are still considered vegetables by chefs because of their savory taste.

Fruit VS Vegetable

At the end of the day, a tomato can be a fruit or a vegetable depending on who you ask. The botanical definition of fruits and vegetables is very clear, but the culinary perspective is simple: if it’s sweet, it’s a fruit, and if it’s savory, it’s a vegetable.