Is Cucumber a Fruit or Vegetable?

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With the average American eating 12 pounds of cucumbers per year, this is one of the most popular food items farmed and marketed around the world.

However, cucumbers are difficult to categorize. You might presume they are vegetables based on their mild, fresh flavor,  and use in cooking. However, are cucumbers technically fruits?

Cucumbers are widely recognized for their long body, cylindrical shape, and bright green color. However, with nearly 100 different varieties, they can vary greatly in shape, size, and color.

Botanically They Are Fruit

The cucumber is classified as a fruit by the botanical definition, which focuses on physiological elements such as plant structure and organization.

Biologically, a cucumber is a fruit since it has seeds in the center and grows from the blossom of the cucumber plant.

Culinarily They Are Vegetable

If you were to ask a chef or dietician how they would classify cucumbers, they would likely reply they are vegetables.

While vegetables are typically less sweet, used in savory dishes, and have a tougher texture, fruits are the polar opposite.

Cucumbers are botanically classified as a fruit, but they are commonly prepared in savory ways, such as salads or pickles, so it is fair to say that they are vegetables in the culinary world.

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