An Assortment of Lies

As Valentine’s Day approaches, you may be inclined to shower your sweet with sweets, but if you think your sweetheart deserves something like chocolate-covered strawberries you may be tainting your relationship with lies: Strawberries are not berries.

Believe it or not, everything you know about fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and berries may be wrong.

fruits and vegetables

Skewers of deception.

Fruits vs Vegetables

A fruit is the seed-bearing portion of a plant, while a vegetable is the remainder, like a root, leaf, or stem.

Fruits You Thought Were Vegetables:

  • Avocado, fruit.
  • Bell pepper, fruit.
  • Squash, fruit.
  • Eggplant, fruit.
  • Cucumber, fruit.
  • Pickle, fruit?!

What’s in a Berry?

A berry is a “fleshy fruit that has multiple seeds on the inside.” This leads to some startling realizations. For one, watermelons are berries, and so are chili peppers and bananas.

The headache comes when you examine foods with “berry” in their names. Strawberries are not berries. Those small seeds on the OUTSIDE of their pink and white flesh aren’t even seeds. The pink strawberry is actually just a thickened piece of stem that acts as a receptacle for achenes, which are fruit that never develop and are often mistaken for seeds on the strawberry’s skin.

Far from the only offender of the seeds on the inside rule, neither blackberries nor raspberries are berries either.

Chocolate-covered receptacles, anyone?

Going Nuts

A can of mixed nuts holds just as many lies as the Edible Arrangement you were planning to purchase your Valentine. We separated out all the actual nuts from a can of mixed nuts, ending up with a paltry handful of what the label promised us.

mixed nuts

Jimmy Carter’s pride and joy, peanuts, which also boat “nut” in the name, are really legumes, like lentils or peas. Almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts are all seeds that grow on trees! Only the hazelnuts and pecans were really nuts.

If this whole thing has you going bananas, you might think you’re safe sticking to chocolate this year, but are cocoa beans really beans at all? They’re in fact fruit whose seeds are used to make delicious chocolate.

cocoa pod