Jalapenos Fruit or Vegetable
Mom always told you to eat your fruits and vegetables, but unless your mom happens to be a botanist, she probably never bothered to explain which was which. It’s not one of those things that have to be explained. It’s just something you pick up as you go along, like “water is wet,” “rocks are heavy” and “Keith Richards is immortal.”
If something comes from a plant and it’s sweet, it’s a fruit. If it comes from a plant and it’s not sweet, it’s a vegetable. A jalapeno pepper grows on a plant, and it’s most certainly not sweet. So, Jalapenos Fruit or Vegetable
Is Jalapenos Fruit or Vegetable – The Scientific Take
If you ask a scientist, they’ll tell you that not only are jalapenos fruits, so are all peppers. The reason for this is that botanists don’t study plants in your kitchen. They study them in nature, where they live. The scientific definition of “fruit” or “vegetable” has nothing to do with how you eat them, and everything to do with what part of the plant they are.
Vegetables are any non-seed bearing, edible parts of a plant. They serve the purpose of keeping the plant alive but don’t aid in its reproduction. This category includes leaves like lettuce, kale, and spinach, roots like carrots, turnips, and potatoes, and stems like broccoli and cauliflower.
Fruits are seed-bearing structures that develop from a flower. These parts of the plant aren’t necessary for the plant to live (you can pick an apple without killing the tree), but they’re essential for reproduction. This category includes familiar fruits like apples or oranges, as well as many foods we would commonly consider vegetables. Cucumbers and tomatoes are fruits by this definition, and so are jalapenos.
Jalapenos Fruit or Vegetable– The Culinary Take
On the other hand, a chef will tell you that a jalapeno is a vegetable. This is because the culinary definition of fruits and vegetables has nothing to do with science, and everything to do with how you’re using a particular food in the kitchen. In this terminology, a fruit is sweet, and a vegetable is savory, bitter or spicy. Peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants are all examples of culinary vegetables that are also scientifically considered fruits.
Interestingly, the US Government agrees with this definition. It might not be wise to hire a high-priced lawyer to sue a grocery chain for stocking tomatoes in the fruit aisle, but there is a precedent. Way back in 1893, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a case, Nix. v. Hedden that tomatoes could be taxed as a vegetable because this was the usual, everyday meaning of the term.
Jalapenos – Fruit or Vegetable?
Are jalapenos a fruit or a vegetable? It depends who you’re talking to. If you’re talking to a scientist, they’re fruits. If you’re talking to a chef or a lawyer, they’re vegetables. If you’re still waiting for a consensus, they’re both. So next time you talk to your mom, tell her you ate a jalapeno; it’s a fruit and a vegetable.