Ned the Blogger

I can’t resist linking to this fellow blogger: NedBatchelder.com. Ned Batchelder is, like me, a blogger, a resident of greater Boston, a software developer, named Ned, and the father of an autistic son. Whether or not he was born in North Carolina I cannot say, but his blog is full of useful information. Only yesterday he posted the answer to that perennial riddle “why is a tomato a fruit?” His answer:

Grains are seeds, fruit is anything that carries seeds, and vegetables are everything else.

So tomato is a fruit. Corn is a grain. Eggplant is a fruit (who knew?). As are the noble pomegranate and humble kumquat. But does that make a seedless grape a vegetable?

4 thoughts on “Ned the Blogger”

  1. Your definition is facile. As far as botany is concerned, there is no distinction between fruits and vegetables: some fruits are vegetables, not all vegetables are fruits. Vegetable is a term of use, not of science. Identifying a plant as a vegetable says nothing about the plant itself, only about how we eat it.

    In fact, there are seven groups vegetables: root vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes…), bulb vegetables (garlic, onions, shallots…), seed vegetables (peas, beans…), stalk vegetables (asparagus…), leafy vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, spinach…), flower vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, artichokes…) and – last but not least – fruit vegetables (eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers…).

  2. My definition may be facile, but yours is tautological: a vegetable is vegetable. I am glad to know about the seven kinds of vegetables, but what is it about how we eat a plant that makes it a vegetable? Or is it the case that vegetables are simply the things that we call vegetables?

    For what it’s worth, the quote from Ned Batchelder’s blog that I use is supported by this URL.

    http://newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bot00/bot00330.htm

  3. Here’s the kicker: since the botanical definition of fruit is ‘that part of the plant that bears seeds,’ wheat bran is a fruit.

  4. Sorry, me again.
    I was just thinking about the whole “vegetable defined by use” argument and was wondering if making sweet potato pie places yams in the “vegetable fruit” catergory, since it’s a vegetable that is being used as a fruit.

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