This is what Ruma Tui have been learning about this week. Having planted our beans and poppies seeds we’ve been investigating the plant life cycle. While classifying the plants we knew of, we realised that we needed some proper definitions so we set out to discover what a fruit is, and what a vegetable is. We came up with these ideas
Hypothesis 1: “Everything with a seed is a fruit, everything else is a vegetable.”
Hypothesis 2: “A fruit grows above the ground, a vegetable grows below the ground”
So off we went to investigate. What we found was that the first hypothesis was indeed correct, fruit is “the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant” (Mirriam-Webster.com). The second hypothesis was disproved because we could find lots of vegetables that grew above the ground although no seeds that grew below.
Our discussion became quite surprising when we thought about what that meant. Apples – fruit. Tomato? Well we sort of knew that was a fruit. Pumpkin? Fruit – weird, but yep it has seeds! Cabbage – vegetable, yep we eat the leaves not the seed. Broccoli and cauliflower? OMG! CauliFLOWER – they must have seeds, so they must be fruit!! Mind-blowing stuff!
So apples are fruit but the leaves of an apple tree are vegetables. Cauliflower florets (great word) are fruit but if we eat the leaves we’re eating vegetables. The big learning is that every seed plant is made up of fruit and vegetables. On a health and safety note to finish we reminded ourselves that just because it is a fruit or vegetable doesn’t mean mean we can eat it – some things are poisonous so we only eat what we know we can eat.
So when is a vegetable not a vegetable? When its a fruit – and you might be surprised where fruit is sneaking up on you! And remember – knowledge is knowing a tomato (or cauliflower) is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad!