Fascinating Facts about Fruits and Vegetables

Photo Courtesy of  howafrica.com

Photo Courtesy of howafrica.com

Quick, identify these as either fruits or vegetables: avocado, cucumbers, eggplants, olives, squash, and tomatoes.

If you answered vegetable for any or all of these, you are incorrect. All of them are actually fruits.

Botanically speaking, a fruit is a seed-bearing structure that develops from the ovary of a flowering plant, whereas vegetables are all other plant parts, such as roots, leaves and stems,” stated livescience.com. “By those standards, seedy outgrowths such as apples, squash and, yes, tomatoes are all fruits, while roots such as beets, potatoes and turnips, leaves such as spinach, kale and lettuce, and stems such as celery and broccoli are all vegetables.”

“A lot of foods that are (botanically speaking) fruits, but which are savory rather than sweet, are typically considered vegetables by chefs,” stated livescience.com. “This includes such botanical fruits as eggplants, bell peppers and tomatoes.”

“In the 1893 United States Supreme Court case Nix. v. Hedden, the court acknowledged that a tomato is a botanical fruit, but went with what they called the ‘ordinary’ definitions of fruit and vegetable — the ones used in the kitchen during the case,” stated livescience.com.

Fruits you never knew existed

Cucamelon- they are native to Mexico and Central America. “They taste like sour cucumbers but look like miniature watermelons, which has led to nicknames such as sour gherkin and Mexican miniature watermelon,” delish.com stated.

Dragon Fruit- also known as “Pitaya”. It is native to Central America but is also grown and exported from several Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam. The flavor is mildly sweet, like a blend of kiwi and pear, and it has a crunchy tex.ture. Eat only the white part with seeds, removing any residual pink parts, which are bitter, as stated in foodfacts.mercola.com.

Monstera Deliciosa-  a tropical creeping vine native to Mexico and Central America. This pine cone shaped fruit must only be eaten when the outer green sections fall off to reveal a white interior flesh because the unripe fruit contains Oxalic Acid that causes immediate and painful irritation, swelling, blistering and loss of voice, or in very rare cases causes death. “It takes 12 to 18 months to ripen enough to become safe to eat,” stated bostonfoodandwhine.com. The fruit is said to be a cross between pineapple, banana, and mango. If you can deal with the itchy throat, lips and mouth, this is the fruit for you! as stated in bostonfoodandwhine.com.

Unique Vegetables

Edamame- some call it the “super vegetable” because it contains nine amino acids. It is found in the cuisine of Japan, China, Korea, and Hawaii. Edamame is usually boiled or steamed and served with salt.

Broccoflower- Another vegetable that is often called broccoflower is Romanesco broccoli, an unusual green vegetable that has a unique fractal pattern, resembling tiny pine trees, on its head.

Watercress- a long living, aquatic vegetable settled along slow running water ways and near springs. “This peppery flavored greens has been in cultivation since ancient times for its food and medicinal uses in East-Asia, Central Asia, Europe, and Americas,” stated nutrition-and-you.com.

This herb is a part of the Brassicaceae family and is closely related to mustard greens, garden cress, cabbage, salad rocket (arugula), etc. Scientific name: Nasturtium officinale, as stated in nutrition-and-you.com.

Using these interesting fruits and vegetables in various, nutrious recipes is actually quite simple.

RECIPES:

Avocado Toast:

www.food52.com

1 ripe avocado

A pinch of garlic salt

Slice of bread, toasted

Use the avocado as a spread and smear on it on the toast then sprinkle the garlic salt over the spread.

Spaghetti Squash:

www.foodnetwork.com

2 whole spaghetti squash

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Gray salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups prepared (jarred) marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat the marinara sauce in a large saute pan. Split the squashes in half and scrape out the seeds. Line an oven tray with aluminum foil. Season the spaghetti squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place flesh side down and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until fully cooked. When done let rest until cool enough to handle. When squash is cool enough to handle, use a large kitchen spoon to scrape the strands of squash from the inside of the skin. Toss the spaghetti squash in the pan with the hot marinara for just long enough to get hot. Serve and enjoy.

Turkey Sandwich With Watercress and Apple:

realsimple.com

2 slices white sandwich bread

1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature

3 ounces roasted turkey, thinly sliced

¼ apple, thinly sliced

½ cup watercress, thick stems removed

Spread the bread with the butter. Form a sandwich with the turkey, apple, and watercress.

Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) Fruit Salad:

foodfacts.mercola.com

1½ cups fresh papaya, cubed

1 cup pineapple chunks

1 banana, sliced

1 cup mango, cubed

1 cup strawberries, sliced or cut into quarters

1 cup dragon fruit

Garnish: starfruit slices

Fruit salad dressing:

¼ cup coconut milk

1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice

2 Tbsp. brown sugar or stevia

Stir fruit salad dressing ingredients together in a cup until sugar/stevia dissolves and set aside. Then place all the fresh fruit in a mixing bowl, and pour the dressing over and toss well to mix. After, pour or scoop the fruit salad into a serving bowl. Garnish just before serving with a few star fruit slices drizzled with fresh lime juice to prevent browning.