Is Okra a fruit or vegetable? It’s more common a question than you could imagine but what could be the reasoning behind this seemingly ludicrous debate? Well, it may not actually be as farfetched as one would imagine as you will see from this article.
At first glance and just by basic reasoning, okra surely is a vegetable. You, and most other people, would reach this conclusion based on the historical background of using okra as a vegetable as well as basic “common sense”.
After all, fruits are mostly sweet and colorful which okra definitely isn’t. So, how do you explain the debate around this issue then? The debate arises from the technical definitions which define a fruit or a vegetable. You see, there are basically 2 schools of thought that drive this classification.
Is Okra A Fruit Or Vegetable?
okra is actually a fruit and not a vegetable. This is because the technical definition of a fruit is the product of the pods of a flowering plant that contains seeds. Okra meets this criteria.
Let’s dig a little deeper into this and unveil this definition as well as the debate surrounding it.
What’s The Difference Between a Fruit and Vegetable?
Generally speaking, a fruit is what is produced when a plant flowers and produces pods then those pods bring forth products that contain seeds. A vegetable is any other part of the plant which can include the leaves, stems as well as roots. This is the botanical or technical definition of a fruit. When it comes to the culinary definition though, a fruit is sweet while a vegetable is savoury.
The criteria is simple and straight forward. While this definition accurately classifies a lot of fruits and vegetables, it also misclassifies a lot of fruits as vegetables.
The classic example you may have heard is that of the tomato. By the botanical definition, you can see that it is actually a fruit but by everyday use, it is identified as a vegetable because, frankly speaking, the general population are not botanists and we prefer to keep things as simple as possible.
As a matter of fact, this was the subject of a court case in the United States in the 1800s. The argument was based on the classification of a tomato. The issue was that they wanted to know the correct tax on tomatoes. Vegetables were taxed higher than fruits.
Using the botanical definition of a fruit, those involved in the trade of tomatoes wanted to pay the lower tax because a tomato was a fruit.
The authorities, on the other hand, wanted to go with the culinary definition. The court ended up agreeing that the tomato was indeed a fruit but chose to go with the general perception of the time which was that tomatoes were known in the kitchen as a vegetable. So, as you can see, this debate goes back a long way.
Is Okra a Fruit or Vegetable?
Now, let’s look at the subject of our article. When we look at the culinary definition of what okra is it is a savoury dish thereby classifying it as a vegetable. I’m sure that you and most people will have absolutely no problem with this at all. Technically speaking though, this is not a correct position.
When the okra plant grows, it produces flowers then pods and those pods produce the okra which has seeds. Go to any botanical expert and they will tell you that that is definitely a fruit.
Your culinary experts will most likely have a fit at this outlandish claim but it is what it is. The facts far outweigh tradition and emotional sentiment. Say it with me “okra is a fruit”. Say it enough times and you too will believe it and take the side of the botanical experts the next time this or a similar debate takes place.
Concluding thoughts on is Okra a Fruit or Vegetable
In order to better understand the technical differences between a fruit and a vegetable, you will have to consider the scientific definition of what this is and move away from what you have become accustomed to.
When you take this definition into mind, you will discover that a lot of fruit and vegetables have been misclassified because we chose to adopt a simpler classification system.
When it’s all been said and done, this is neither here nor there. Not much will change in how we view and classify the foods we eat. Sweet will most likely be classified as a fruit while savoury will be deemed a vegetable.
Only the botanical expert and the occasional person seeking to better understand things will really be concerned about the difference between the two. The rest of humanity will go on as we always have. It is what it is.
Amelia is a plant and nature lover! Ever since she was little, she loved spending time in her family’s garden and learning about how to care for each plant individually. As an adult, she has dedicated herself to sharing what she has learned and continuing to expand her knowledge on the plant kingdom.