The Most Surprising Fruits Commonly Mistaken for Vegetables

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The Most Surprising Fruits Commonly Mistaken for Vegetables
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The Most Surprising Fruits Commonly Mistaken for Vegetables

Looks (and tastes) can be deceiving when it comes to categorizing fruits and vegetables. Many varieties of produce that are traditionally treated as vegetables are actually fruits. Check out the most unexpected "vegetables" that are really fruits.

Avocado

This superfood, often used in salads or guacamole in the U.S., features a center pit (the seed). In certain cultures, avocado is actually served as a fruit and used in desserts such as Vietnam's Sinh To Bo, an avocado milkshake, or Indonesia's version with chocolate syrup.

Image credit: Getty Images

Eggplant

Considered a berry, this fleshy fruit with many seeds is often prepared as Eggplant Parmesan, breaded with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce -- a most unassuming way to eat a fruit.

Image credit: Corbis

Cucumber

When you consider that this seeded salad essential is used to make salty and sour pickles, it becomes especially shocking that it is considered a fruit.

Try serving the watery plant as a fruit in treats such as Cucumber-Lime Pops with Gin.

Image credit: Corbis

Tomato

While a tomato is scientifically a fruit and part of the berry family, the Supreme Court once ruled that they are vegetables for trade purposes in the 1893 case of Nix v. Hedden in which a tomato importer believed that he need not pay the import duty on vegetables because tomatoes are fruits.

To treat tomatoes as fruits in your kitchen, try a great tomato jam.

Squash

All varieties of squash, from zucchini to spaghetti squash, are technically fruits, but butternut squash's sweet flavor makes it one of the most common types to be treated as a fruit in dishes such as Roasted Squash Soup with Maple-Glazed Bananas.

Image credit: Jupiterimages

Pepper

From the mild and sweet to the super spicy, peppers are seedy and thus categorized as fruit. In ever-popular bell peppers, green and red varieties emerge from the same plant. Immature green peppers sweeten over time and become the sweeter red peppers.

Okra

Often fried or used in stews for its thickening capabilities, okra is a fibrous fruit with antioxidants. The nutritious pods can even reduce the risk of heart disease.

For a savory side, serve okra with corn alongside Louisiana Catfish.

Image credit: Getty Images

Olive

These oily spheres are Mediterranean staples and look unlike any other common fruit. Their distinction as a fruit (in the drupe family) makes everyday olive oil seem incredibly unusual.

Image credit: Corbis

Pumpkin

A kitchen staple during the fall months, pumpkin is a fruit whose seeds can also be enjoyed.

Explore pumpkin's fruit properties in desserts such as Pumpkin Cake with Dried Cranberries.

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Merriam-Webster defines "fruit" as "the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant." Most often, these seed plants are sweet and enjoyed as dessert (think berries and melons), but some surprising plant varieties with a savory flavor are also considered fruits due to their seeded nature. From eggplants, commonly seasoned and served as vegetables, to olives with their oily texture and salty flavor, unexpected fruits are all around us.

Check out the slideshow above to uncover the most shocking fruits that are typically treated as vegetables.

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