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Is A Pickle A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Pickles are an interesting food because they’re made from cucumbers through a process called pickling. Cucumbers are put in a jar with brine, a mixture of vinegar and water, and spices. They’re left inside the jar for many weeks and left to ferment. The result is a pickle. Their taste and texture depends on how long you let them ferment and the cucumbers, brine and spices that were used. Technically a pickle is considered both a fruit and a vegetable. They’re made from cucumbers, which are a vegetable, but they contain seeds like a fruit. And weirdly enough, pickles can also be considered a berry. Cucumbers grow from a blossom and contain seeds but no pit. Botanically speaking, they’re a fruit, vegetable, and berry all at once. But to most people cucumbers are considered a vegetable and so are pickles.

There’s a big difference between the culinary classification of fruits and vegetables compared to their botanical definition. Every chef I’ve ever asked this question to has told me pickles are a vegetable because they’re mad from cucumbers. And most chefs consider cucumbers to be a vegetable. But are pickles still cucumbers after they’re pickled? The answer is yes, pickles are pickled cucumbers and still retain most of the nutrients found in a fresh cucumber.

What Is A Fruit?

In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing portion of a flowering plant. And not all fruit is edible. But in culinary terms, fruit is generally thought of as being sweet and colorful. Apples, grapes, bananas, pears and peaches are all examples of fruit. Or fruit an taste sour like a lemon, lime or grape fruit. They’re usually eaten raw, but can be cooked into a variety of dishes.

According to botany, many foods most of us consider vegetables or grains are actually fruit. Bean pods contain seeds and grow on a flowering plant, so they’re technically a fruit. But most people think of them as a vegetable.

Wheat grains, tomatoes, corn and cucumbers also contain seeds and grow on flowering plants.But people don’t think of them as being fruit.

Whether or not a pickle is a fruit depends on if your a scientist or a cook. To a scientist, a pickle may be considered a fruit because it grows on a flowing plant and has seeds. But to everyone else it’s a vegetable.

What Is A Vegetable?

According to botanists, vegetables are the part of a plant that can be eaten by humans. This includes the leaves, stem, root, flowers, and even the fruits. This means according to botany, a fruit is also a vegetable.

But in the culinary world, different parts of a plant are given their own designations and no longer considered vegetables. This includes fruits, nuts, flowers, and grains.

However, there are some exceptions. To most chefs, fruits like tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers are referred to as vegetables. Similarly, flowers such as broccoli and cauliflower, and seeds such as pulses, which includes beans, peas and lentils, are also called vegetables.

So what food is a vegetable depending on who’s asking. To a scientist, just about everything we eat that’s grown is technically a vegetable. But to a chef we make clear distinctions. Although there are still exceptions.

To a chef a cucumber is considered a vegetable and not a fruit, and therefore so is a pickle.

What Is A Pickle?

In the United States, a pickle is a pickled cucumber. But in other countries it has a different meaning. In the UK a pickle refers to a pickled onion. In Korea, you’ll probably get kimchi or pickled ginger. And in some countries you may get a pickled egg or meat.

The word pickle refers to the act of pickling. When food is fermented in brine along with various herbs and spices, it’s considered pickled.

All sorts of vegetables, fruits, nuts and other foods can be pickles. But here in the U.S. pickles are pickled cucumbers. They’re exactly the same food as the large cucumbers many people cut up and add to salad. They have a high water content and a fresh taste with a touch of sweetness.

When cucumbers are pickled, they’re added to a mixture of brine and other herbs, spices or ingredients such as garlic. The entire mixture is put in an airtight jar and kept sealed for weeks. This preserves the cucumber and gives it a unique taste that many people love around the world.

Pickles can be eaten whole right out of the jar, sliced for hamburgers or chopped to make a relish.

Is Cucumber A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

To a botanist, a cucumber is a fruit. They grow on a flowering plant and have seeds inside of them. But to a chef a cucumber, and a pickle, are a vegetable.

From a culinary perspective, cucumbers are considered a vegetable. This heavily influences the way they’re served and eaten. For example, you don’t find cucumber in a fruit salad, but it’s used in vegetable dishes and salads.

Cucumbers are almost always served raw and have a slight sweetness to them. So I can understand the argument for considering them a fruit. Cucumber water is an example of serving them more like a fruit than a vegetable. But they don’t have enough natural sweetness to be used in most fruit dishes or desserts.

All fruits are technically also vegetables, so you would be correct calling a cucumber either a fruit or a vegetable. It all depends on your point of view and how you’re preparing the cucumber. But this versatility doesn’t extend to pickles. I can’t see any way of working a pickle into a fruit dish. Once the cucumber is pickled, it’s taste changes and it looses it’s sweetness. This change helps solidify a pickle as a vegetable.

Is Cucumber A Berry?

And then there are berries. In botany, a berry is a type of fleshy fruit that doesn’t have a pit. They’re produced from a single flower on a flowering plant. And that plant can only have a single ovary. By this definition, fruits like peaches are not berries. But neither are raspberries or strawberries because they’re made from flowers with multiple ovaries. Although chefs consider raspberries and strawberries to be berries.

Bananas, grapes, and cucumbers can also be considered berries because they fit the definition. But outside of botany no one does.

To a chef, a berry is any fleshy fruit that doesn’t have a pit. This includes strawberries, raspberries, black berries and blue berries. The great thing about berries is that the word berry is usually in it’s name.

In technical terms to a botanist, a cucumber is also a berry. But to a cook, it’s still just a vegetable. And so is a pickle.

How Are Pickles Made?

Here’s another question, does a cucumber change once it’s been pickled? The answer is no, a pickled fruit or vegetable is still the same fruit or vegetable, regardless of how it’s prepared.

Pickling is a form of food preservation. Most recipes use a mixture of vinegar and water mixed with spices to create brine. Cucumbers, brine and spices are placed in a jar or other airtight container and allowed to ferment for weeks. Other ingredients such as herbs and garlic cloves can also be added for flavor.

Pickling can be used to preserve just about any fruit or vegetable. Cucumbers and cabbage are the two most popular foods that are pickled. They create Pickles and Kimche.

Is A Pickle A Cucumber?

If you ask for a pickle in the United States, you’ll receive a pickled cucumber. But in other parts of the world you could be served pickled fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish, or meat.

When cucumbers are pickled they’re turned into a pickle. But not all pickles are cucumbers. Be careful if your on vacation in another country and ask for a pickle. There’s no telling what you’ll get. The term pickle is a general terms that could mean any pickled food. In most vacation spots that are used to serving U.S. style food, you’ll probably get a regular pickle. But in rural areas you could be served all sorts of pickled foods.

In countries that call other foods pickles, ask for a gherkin. It’s another word for what we call a pickle.

Conclusion: Is A Pickle A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

To a botanist, a cucumber is technically a fruit, vegetable, and a berry. So to them, a pickle is both a fruit and a vegetable. But most of us are not botanists. To a chef, home cook, or regular person, a pickle is a vegetable because they’re made from cucumbers.

Pickling a fruit or vegetable does not change what it is. So pickles are generally considered a vegetable.

The definition of foods and what name we call them depends on how it’s used, where you live and who you ask. But here in the United States, we consider pickles a vegetable and not a fruit or a berry.

Related Questions

Here’s a list of fun questions related to pickles. If you have any more, email them to me and I’ll add them to the list.

What Category Is A Pickle In?

Pickles are made from cucumbers, which are considered a vegetable. Technically they’re actually the fruit of the cucumber plant, but chefs still consider them a vegetable because of how they’re served and eaten. Cucumbers are most commonly used in salads and to make pickles and not for desserts.

Botanists use a more technical definition for foods and consider them a fruit. So you’d be correct in calling them both a fruit and a vegetable.

Do Pickles Count As A Vegetable Serving?

Most countries have a recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables that a person should eat in a day. Here in the U.S. that number is 4–5 servings. But do pickles count as a vegetable serving? Yes they do, as long as the serving size is the same. It would be the same as eating a serving size of cucumbers.

A serving of vegetables is about a 1/2 cup or 75 grams. That’s a big pickle. A few sliced pickles on your hamburger or some relish on a hot dog are not considered a serving.

Are Pickles Vegan?

Pickles are considered a vegan food because they contain no animal products. They’re just regular small cucumbers that have been preserved in brine with spices. All of the ingredients used to pickle a cucumber are also vegan.

Some pickle labels may use the term “lacto-fermentation.” This does not mean there is lactose (milk) used in the pickling process. Lacto refers to the sugars in food breaking down into lactic acid.

In many parts of the world, the word pickles may refer to any food item that has been pickled. This could mean pickled eggs, meat or fish. In those cases, pickles are not vegan.

Is A Gherkin A Pickle?

Gherkin refers to a small pickled cucumber in the UK and many other countries. But here in the U.S., a small pickled cucumber would simply be called a pickle. Be careful when your on vacation and order gherkins instead of pickles. You could be served pickled eggs, meat, fish, vegetables or fruits instead.

Fun Pickle Facts

  • On average, each American eats about nine pounds of pickles per year.
  • America was named after Amerigo Vespucci, a pickle merchant.
  • Christopher Columbus supposedly packed his ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, with vitamin-C rich pickles to keep his crew from getting scurvy.
  • 40% of all U.S.-produced pickles were claimed by the U.S. Army for soldier rations during.
  • Technically, pickles may be considered both a fruit and a vegetable. While they are made from cucumbers, which are a vegetable, they contain seeds which also makes them a fruit.
  • Elvis was a fan of fried pickles.
  • International Pickle Week was started in 1948 by the Pickle Packers International, Inc. trade association. It’s meant to honor the world-renowned food during the heart of cucumber planting season. It runs from May 15-24, which is actually 10 days instead of 7.
  • Cleopatra considered pickles to be a beauty treatment.
  • Pickles have been around for more than 4,000 years.

Summary: Is A Pickle A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Pickles are an interesting food because they’re made from cucumbers through a process called pickling. Cucumbers are put in a jar with brine, a mixture of vinegar and water, and spices. They’re left inside the jar for many weeks and left to ferment. The result is a pickle. Their taste and texture depends on how long you let them ferment and the cucumbers, brine and spices that were used. Technically a pickle is considered both a fruit and a vegetable. They’re made from cucumbers, which are a vegetable, but they contain seeds like a fruit. And weirdly enough, pickles can also be considered a berry. Cucumbers grow from a blossom and contain seeds but no pit. Botanically speaking, they’re a fruit, vegetable, and berry all at once. But to most people cucumbers are considered a vegetable and so are pickles.

There’s a big difference between the culinary classification of fruits and vegetables compared to their botanical definition. Every chef I’ve ever asked this question to has told me pickles are a vegetable because they’re mad from cucumbers. And most chefs consider cucumbers to be a vegetable. But are pickles still cucumbers after they’re pickled? The answer is yes, pickles are pickled cucumbers and still retain most of the nutrients found in a fresh cucumber.

If you have any questions or comments about pickles, email any time.

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