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Fruit or vegetable?

Thomas Bjorkman tnb1 at cornell.edu
Wed Jan 22 13:44:25 EST 1997


In article <32e4f1b1.146184486 at news.ucdavis.edu>, vrg at post1.com (Veronica)
wrote:

> I think it's important to see this in the appropriate context.  The
> word "fruit" has at least two contexts (there are others, but two that
> are relevant here): a technical botanical context and a culinary
> context; "vegetable" is strictly a culinary term with no botanical
> meaning.  

This is the essential point.  There is also a third context: commodity
group.  For statistical reporting, some things are sorted in unexpected
ways.  Because they are grown as annuals, strawberries are grouped with
vegetables in the agricultural statistics.  It makes sense for the ag
economists, even though it is not sensible in the other contexts.

There is also a third category: grain.  Sweet corn is a vegetable
(commoditywise) but field corn is a grain.  Soybean is a grain unless it
is sold green (edible soybean) which is a vegetable.  Dry beans are on the
line between grains and vegetables, whereas green beans in the same
species are certainly vegetables [perhaps because you eat the whole fruit
{bean pod} and not just the seed:-)?]
-- 
Thomas Björkman    
Dept. of Horticultural Sciences   
Cornell University



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