Technically speaking, fruits are the seed-bearing parts of the plant that develops from the ovary. Whereas a vegetable, on the other hand, is the rest of the plan parts that consist of roots, leaves, and stems. It is often quite confusing, especially with the whole tomato debacle. But do you know what berries are?
Bananas and eggplants are classified as berries. Ironically, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not. People started calling certain plans berries even before the scientific definition of “berry” was identified.
What Are Berries?
In botany, fruits are defined as the portion of the flowing plant that develops from the ovary and it often contains seeds. Whereas vegetables are any edible part of the plant that is not a fruit. Now, fruits have their own subcategories. They can be grouped as citruses, drupes, pomes, or berries. Its subcategory can be determined by which part of the flower or ovary gave rise to the skin, seed, or flesh.
Contrary to what we think, strawberries and raspberries are not actually berries if we use the technical definition of berries. Since they are derived from a single flower with more than one ovary, which means they are classified as accessory fruits. True berries, on the other hand, are described as simple fruits that stem from one flower with one ovary and have several seeds. With this definition, we can say that tomatoes, pomegranates, kiwis, and even bananas fall into this classification. (Source: Stanford Magazine)
If Bananas are Berries, and Strawberries are not Berries, What are They?
While we already know that bananas, eggplants, and avocados are berries, and strawberries are not part of the category, you might wonder what are they in botanical terms. Well here it is, botanists classify the strawberry as a pseudocarp or a false fruit. This is because it is a multiple fruit that consists of various tiny individual fruits within its fleshy receptacle. The brown or white specks on the strawberry that we consider as seeds are the true fruits of the strawberry and they are called achenes.
The achenes are responsible for making the strawberry rich in fiber. In fact, according to The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition, half a cup of strawberries gives you more fiber than a whole slice of wheat bread. In addition to this, strawberries give you 70% of your recommended vitamin C. (Source: Carnegie Museums)
Why Are Berries Called Berries?
Since the technical definition of berry does not seem to apply to the fruit we call berries, let’s find out where they came from. The berry family is a linguistic invention that stemmed from the Germanic language, just like English. The word berry comes from the Old English word berie which means grape. As the English language spread throughout the Americas thanks to colonization, many native fruits that looked like grapes or had a grape-like resemblance, were given the berry suffix. This is why we have strawberry, blueberry, cranberry, elderberry, raspberry, and more.
So the question is, are grapes berries too? Technically speaking, grapes are berries in the linguistic sense and botanical definition. The word grape is derived from the Old English term winberige which translates to wineberry. (Source: Dictionary)