The eternal dilemma around the tomato, is it a fruit or a vegetable?


The tomatoes It is a food on which a debate is woven that has been on the table for decades and it seems that nobody agrees. Conversation topic after a good dinner, theories jump from both sides in which each one defends his position. But finally, what is the tomato? Fruit or vegetable?

The first thing we do with this type of existential doubt is to resort to Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) To get a clearer picture: it is definitely a fruit. “Red berry, fruit of the tomato plant, with a smooth and shiny surface, in whose pulp there are numerous somewhat flattened and yellow seeds”, is the definition that appears.

But despite the clear and concise explanation that the regulatory body of the Cervantes language Regarding the tomato, there are still many lovers of this food who continue to affirm that it is a vegetable.

To expand the explanation a little more, and to make it even clearer, we are going to remember the basic principles that a fruit should have: its origin must be vegetable, have seeds and must be edible. As we can see, the tomato meets all three, although it is not necessarily sweet.

In this sense, we understand as more common the consumption of some vegetables that are really roots such as potatoes, carrots, leeks or celery.

Perhaps the confusion of whether it is a fruit or a vegetable arises at this point. And it is that the tomato can also be classified as a vegetable. As is known, the plants that are grown in an irrigated garden, beyond trees and cereals, are considered under this category. And if we go into the subject in more detail, this classification is for the entire plant, then it would be the tomato plant, while its fruit is the tomato.


As we said above, the controversy has been going on for several decades and in some countries the dispute is even centuries old. For the memory remains the time that this debate reached the Supreme Court of the United States in the XIX century.

It happens that that time the North American government tried to put taxes on imported vegetables. To defend themselves, the importers argued that the tomato was not a vegetable but a fruit, being botanically classified in that way.

However, the power of money and made the opinion of said court remain unchanged. This was based on the Tariff Act of 1883 used the ordinary meaning of the words “fruit” and “vegetable”, rather than the technical botanical meaning. And so it was that growers were forced to pay import duties on both fruits and vegetables.

according to the book ‘This was not in my botany book’ of the Spanish writer Rosa Poncel, in the Nix v. Hedden case, a 10% customs duty was imposed.

Despite the fact that 139 years have passed since that ‘tomaticicide’ (as the Tremendous Judge of the Tremendous Court of Three Skates would say) and that the World Health Organization (WHO) considers it a fruit, there is still a reluctant sector, especially from high cuisine, which will continue to consider the tomato as a vegetable.

tomato, like many other words ending in tie come from the Nahuatl language (Aztec). Of course, in that language the ending is not tie otherwise atl, which means water. Tomato comes from the word take either tomohuac What does fat mean? So tomato means “fat water”.

During the conquest, the Spanish brought this fruit to Europe. Like chocolate, the word tomato was spread to several languages ​​(English, French, German, Portuguese, etc.). In Italy they renamed the tomato to pomodoro (pomo d’oro or golden apple). The Italians spread its use to other countries. For example, in Russia tomato is called pomidor.


Learn what melatonin is, how it helps you and what foods contain it
The strange figure in the sky of Lima that went viral on TikTok and the explanation of what it is
Peru champion of the Copa América, how with that title managed to rescue professional football and contradict the dictatorship