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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fruits

To put it in a nutshell, a fruit is the part of a plant that contains the seeds.
Of course, it can be argued that nuts contain the seeds of oak trees and so forth, but that definition is only put to the broadest terms. In nontechnical terms, such as in food preparation, fruits are the fleshy, seed carrying parts of certain plants that are sweet and edible in their raw state, such as apples, pears, grapes, and bananas. The seed associating parts that do not fit these descriptions are called by other names, such as pod, beans, nuts, and vegetables.
According to biologists, a fruit is a part of a flowering plant that derives from specific tissues in the flower, mostly one or more of the ovaries. Strictly speaking, this definition takes off many foods that would be considered "fruits" in the more sensible term, such as those produced by nonflowering plants (juniper berries) and those produced by parts close to the fruit (cashew fruits and accessory fruits). Most often, the botanical fruit is just part of the common fruit, or just adjacent to it. On the other hand, the botanical fruits would include many other parts that typically aren't considered fruits, e.g. bean pods, corn kernels, wheat grains, tomatoes, cucumbers, and many others.
By either term, fruits are simply the way plants spread out their seeds, their offspring, out into the wide world. The fleshy part was probably created to attract animals to help in seed dispersal and even today many animals, and humans, depend on fruits as a source of food. Fruits have since acquired extensive cultural and symbiotic meanings.
I hope this clears things up a bit. Tomatoes are fruits, people! :)

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