TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Is a Watermelon a Fruit or a Vegetable?

There are a few foods that have sparked debate over whether they are a fruit or a vegetable.

Is a watermelon a fruit or a vegetable?

According to watermelon.org, like the pepper, tomato, and pumpkin, watermelon is a fruit, botanically. It is the fruit of a plant originally from a vine of southern Africa.

Watermelon is a member of the cucurbitaceae plant family of gourds (classified as Citrullus lantus), related to the cucumber, squash and pumpkin. It is planted from seeds or seedlings, harvested, and then cleared from the field like other vegetables.

The website argues that according to Webster’s dictionary, a vegetable is anything made or obtained from plants, so since watermelon is grown as a vegetable crop using vegetable production systems, watermelon is considered a vegetable.

Watermelon.org notes that in places like China, the outer rind of the watermelon is used as a vegetable—stir-fried, stewed and often pickled. Pickled watermelon rind also is widespread in Russia and common in parts of the southern United States.

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