Is pickle a fruit or vegetable? It is a fruit. However, it is a tricky question because most people refer to a pickle as a cucumber. If that is the case, then pickle is a fruit. However, a pickle can be a fruit or a vegetable depending on what you have pickled. So a cucumber pickle is a fruit but not all pickles are cucumbers.
Cucumbers are technically fruits because they contain seeds, although they are typically used in savory dishes.
Generally, fruits are defined as the sweet-tasting seed-bearing parts of plants while vegetables are the savory non-seed-bearing parts.
However, there are exceptions to this, so read on to discover why this is the case.
What Is A Fruit?
A fruit, according to the botanical definition, is the edible reproductive structure of a flowering plant. In other words, fruits develop from a plant’s flowers.
Merriam-Webster simplifies the definition like this: a fruit is “anything that grows on a plant that is used to send out the seeds into the world.”
According to the culinary definition, fruits are typically sweet or tart and are used in desserts, jams, smoothies, and syrups.
The common definition of a fruit, that most of us are familiar with, is any sweet-tasting, fleshy food that grows on a tree or bush.
What Is A Vegetable?
While a vegetable does not have a botanical definition, it generally refers to any edible part of a plant other than the fruit.
Veggies are grouped based on the part of the plant eaten such as;
- leaves (mint)
- roots (turnips and carrots)
- stem (asparagus and rhubarb),
- bulbs (garlic and onion)
- tubers (potato)
- flowers (cauliflower and broccoli)
When it comes to culinary uses, most vegetables are typically eaten as part of the main course instead of as a dessert. So, where do these definitions leave cucumbers, tomatoes, and melons? And is dill pickle a fruit or vegetable?
What Is A Pickle?
Before answering the question “are pickles a fruit or vegetable?”, it is important to know what a pickle is.
Dictionaries define a pickle as a food article, preserve, or relish that is preserved in brine or vinegar.
Pickles are often used as a side dish. They can be eaten as a snack, added to sandwiches and salads, or used as a condiment. It is important to take note that pickles can be made from either fruits or vegetables.
Is A Pickle A Cucumber?
In the U.S., the word “pickle” is synonymous with cucumber because this is the most common pickle that you see in stores.
Pickled cucumber is one that has been soaked in brine (water, vinegar, and salt) mixed with spices. As cucumbers soak in the mixture, they transform into pickles.
But, a pickle is so much more than a cucumber.
There are a variety of fruits and vegetables that can be pickled. Some of the most popular options other than cucumbers are peppers, onions, dill, and tomatoes.
However, you can really pickle any fruit or vegetable that you like including beets, asparagus, carrots, cauliflower, radishes, squash, fennel, parsnips, and so on.
The best way to find out which ones you like the best is to experiment and try out different combinations.
Let’s look at it this way: You can pickle a cucumber, but cucumber is not a pickle.
So, Is Pickle A Fruit Or Vegetable?
As you know by now, fruits are those that develop from flowers and are vital for the plant’s survival. Going by this definition, anything that grows on a plant and contains seeds is a fruit including cucumbers, tomatoes, avocados, and melons.
That’s right. Cucumbers and tomatoes grow from the flowers of the plant and contain seeds. If you have ever seen a cucumber plant, you will know that it produces yellow flowers that produce the cucumber fruit.
So, the answer to the question “are pickles a fruit or vegetable?”. It is a fruit!
And, the answer to the question “is dill pickle a fruit or vegetable?” It is a fruit too. Generally, most people will identify dill pickle as dill cucumber pickles. Once again, it is the most commonly found pickle in stores and these cucumbers are often pickled with dill herbs.
And yet it can get tricky, if you are referring to pickled dill. Now, it only relates to either dill seeds or dill leaves. Dill seeds are dried fruits of the plant while dill leaves can be considered vegetables. Both of them can be pickled or fermented as preserved food to be used at a later time.
What Is Pickling?
The pickling process was developed thousands of years ago basically as a way to preserve food.
When food is preserved in an acidic solution, it prevents the growth of bacteria and other microorganisms. This means pickled food can last for a much longer time than non-pickled food.
There are many different types of pickling solutions, but the most common one is vinegar. Other solutions include brine (a saltwater solution), wine, and oil as mentioned in our “how is pickling vinegar made” post. The food is usually soaked in the pickling solution for a period of time, anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. After the food has been pickled, it can be stored in a cool, dark place for months or even years.
How To Pickle Cucumber?
To pickle a cucumber, you need to soak the cucumber in brine (water, salt, and spices) for several days and knowing how to use pickling vinegar the right way will prove useful.
This process allows the cucumber to absorb the flavors of the vinegar and spices. After the cucumber has been soaked, it is then placed in a jar or container with vinegar and spices. The cucumber will continue to absorb the flavors of the vinegar and spices over time, resulting in a delicious and tangy treat.
A faster way to pickle cucumber is to bring to boil a mixture of sugar, salt, vinegar, spices, and herbs, pour it on cucumbers, and allow them to soak for a short while.
You now have the answer to the questions “are pickles a fruit or vegetable?” and “what is a pickle?”
But, there are some people who also wonder if pickling is the same as fermentation.
Is Pickling The Same As Fermentation?
Pickling and fermentation are both processes that are used to preserve food. Both processes involve the use of bacteria to convert the sugars in food into lactic acid, which helps to prevent the growth of other harmful bacteria.
However, they cannot be used interchangeably. Pickling is a short-term preservation method that involves adding vinegar or another acidic solution to the food. This method is typically used for vegetables and fruits.
The pickling process involves boiling the vegetable or fruit in a solution of water, salt, or vinegar with herbs and spices and packing them into containers.
Fermentation, on the other hand, is a long-term preservation method that uses salt to inhibit the growth of bacteria. This method is typically used for meats, dairy products, and vegetables.
Fermentation, on the other hand, doesn’t require heat or an acidic solution. You can ferment foods with just salt. The natural bacteria in fruits, meat, and vegetables convert the sugars in these foods into acid that then preserves the food.
So which one should you use to preserve your food? It really depends on your preference. If you like sour-tasting food, fermentation is a great option. If you prefer your food to be saltier, then pickling is the way to go.
Are Pickles Healthy?
There is some debate on whether pickles are healthy or not. Some people believe that pickles are healthy because they are low in calories and fat.
However, pickles may not be suitable for those with certain health conditions who need to be on a low sodium diet such as high blood pressure, heart, or kidney disease. This is because pickles tend to be high in sodium.
If you are on a low-sodium diet, you can choose low-sodium pickles or control the amount of salt you put in homemade pickles to enjoy your favorite snack.
Is Pickle a Fruit or Vegetable Summary
The debate on “are pickles a fruit or vegetable?” is likely to continue. In fact, the answer to this question depends on how you define the difference between a fruit and a vegetable and what has been pickled.
Regardless, remember that you can relish your favorite pickles whether they are fruits or vegetables!