Fruit Or Tomato – Truth About What It Is

Tomato – A fruit or vegetable?

In the United States of America, in 1883, was tried a high pressure legal case whose center of conflict was ‘A Tomato’. Who would have thought that the subject matter of the conflict would be as trivial as ‘Is the tomato a fruit or vegetable’? But yes, it was so. Scientifically, tomatoes fall into the fruit category and while cooking, tomatoes are treated as vegetables. The court verdict was unexpectedly biased which was that tomato was a vegetable owing to its presence in the main course and not in the dessert.

Tomatoes are very popular around the world for their nutritious content and antioxidant properties. The tomato bears a lot of resemblance to eggplants and bell peppers that have small seeds embedded inside the flesh. Though it has a setup as that of vegetables, it tastes more like citric fruits like orange and lime. Hence, it is this blend of fruit and vegetable properties that give the tomato its uniqueness. Over a period of ages, this fruit has evolved more as a vegetable and has been adopted by various cultures in their own method of sacred food preparation.

Tomato Production

Tomatoes are propagated through seeds present inside the fruit. Caring for tomato seedlings can be a daunting task. Nowadays, the organic method of production is what is preferred to the chemical treatments. Initial requirements include that the land be between mean sea level and 1500m altitude. A not-so-wet sandy loam soil is preferable. Selecting high yielding and pest resisting seeds is the most important task in producing organic tomatoes. Chemical treatment of seeds is a strict no-no. Separate tomato beds are prepared (around 15 in 1 acre land) and the seeds are planted. The saplings sprout around 14-18 days after planting and are transplanted again for reasons like pest control, soil-moisture control and temperature control.

Yellow tomato leaves

There are several reasons for the tomato leaves to get yellow. Lets consider case by case examples. When yellow leaves on tomatoes are noticed, its most common reason might be that the leaves were not getting enough sunlight and soil moisture. After we have ensured that that is not the reason then we must check for lack of nitrogen content in the land. This can be rectified by adding organic manure to the soil. Occasionally yellow tomato leaves imply pests or weeds problem. Also these plants are prone to bacterial and fungal infections which are the cause for tomato plant leaves turning yellow.


As per the verdict of the US Supreme court, most of us would agree to categorize tomato as a vegetable that is prepared into various forms of food before consumption. Often the preparation of the tomato depends on the culture of the people and the land where it is cultivated. The different types of tomatoes are red tomatoes, green tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Here ends the great debate if the juicy tomato is a fruit or a vegetable with the scales tilting towards the title of vegetable.

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The Tomato Is A Vegetable

The controversy as to whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable has been around for some time now. But did you ever hear the story as to why there was so much conflict as to how to classify it? Well, in order to get the real story you have to back back a few years. Actually you have to go back over a hundred years for the answers to this story.

Back in 1893 the United States Supreme Court made a ruling that tomatoes were to be classified as vegetables and that is the way that it’s been for over 100 years. But you might ask yourself, why was the very highest court in the United States asked to make a ruling on this controversial issue? The answer comes from an issue surrounding what else but taxes. In the 1890’s there were three fruit importers named George, John and Frank Nix who were in the business of importing and they just so happened to have a shipment of tomatoes arriving from the West Indies. It was this shipment of tomatoes that would create a huge controversy that to this day is still something that people argue about. During this time period in the 1890’s there were no taxes placed upon the imports of fruits but all vegetables had taxes levied against them. These fruit importers, in an effort to avoid the taxes on the tomatoes, wanted them classified as fruits so that’s how we got to the point of engaging the highest court in the land.

In the court’s decision it did in fact acknowledge that tomatoes were technically a fruit but in what the court called the “common language of the people” they should be classified as vegetables. In addition to tomatoes the court also ruled that peas, squash, cucumbers and beans should also be classified as vegetables because they are grown in the common kitchen garden and because, for the most part, they were normally served as part of a meal rather than as a dessert. It’s at this point where history wrote the book on tomatoes being classified as a vegetable.

So there you have the real story. Whether you personally want to classify the tomato as a fruit or vegetable is really up to you. However, according to the law of the land they are and will remain vegetables and all because of an issue over taxes.

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