We all have heard that when life gives you lemons, make lemon juice. But, do you know whether lemon is a fruit or vegetable? We use lemon in almost all our meals, and yet we don’t even know what it actually is.
People often get confused about whether a lemon is categorized as a fruit or vegetable, but scientifically speaking, lemons are categorized as fruits like oranges. They also resemble carrots in the germination phase. So, let’s get into it.
Yes, lemon is a citrus fruit because of its sweet and sour taste. It also resembles oranges in its texture, smell, and exterior. So, it is only fair that we put lemon in the food category but is it enough just to judge lemon by its appearance?
Well, probably not, and that is why most people also say that lemon could also possibly be a vegetable as its early germination and development processes are very similar to that of veggies.
Fruits contain seeds in plants, so lemon obviously contains seeds, and you can also grow a lemon tree from it. So, it fits the criteria of being a fruit because of having seeds too.
Lemon has a combination of sweet and sour tastes, making experts think about whether they should list it as a vegetable or a fruit. But, as lemon is mostly used in tarts and increases the overall taste of deserts, even the culinary experts have now declared it a fruit.
Nonetheless, it could still go either way because the consensus among experts is still there, and some say that lemon is a fruit while others consider it a vegetable.
However, most people consider lemon a fruit so that we would go with that too. All the scientific evidence and theories point toward the lemon being a fruit.
There are many ways to determine if a lemon is categorized as a fruit or vegetable. We are listing all those ways and seeing how lemon checks all the blocks of being a fruit instead of a vegetable. Let’s dive in right away.
Taste plays a key role in determining whether something is a fruit or a vegetable, but you cannot decide solely based on the taste as you will still need other things to make the final call. When it comes to taste, fruits are very diverse.
You will find sweet, sour, and bitter, all sorts of flavors in fruits. Most fruits are sweeter, but they usually fall into different categories. On the other hand, vegetables have a unique taste.
Most of the time, you cannot really put a tag on that taste. Also, we often eat most veggies as potatoes and onions cooked, their real flavor is hardly a problem for us. But veggies have a weird taste of their own.
When it comes to lemon, has more of a sweet and citrusy taste that is very similar to that of orange. The only difference is that oranges usually are not that sour, and we can eat them quite easily, but lemons are very sour, and you can really not eat them without dilution.
Fruits have seeds, and vegetables obviously don’t have them. Fruits result from a plant’s reproductive cycle as the seeds are first made in the ovary, then eventually become a whole fruit. So, fruits are basically related to the reproduction of plants.
On the other hand, vegetables are mostly the non-reproductive parts of your plants like stems, leaves, and roots. For instance, carrots and potatoes are roots, while spinach and cabbage are leaves.
So, we often don’t realize it, but we eat the parts of plants on a daily basis, and they are not related to the reproductive cycle of plants at all.
Now, let’s talk about lemons! We have all seen the annoying seeds of lemon that somehow find their way into our lemon juice, right? This means lemons have seeds, and that simply makes them a fruit.
Because they would obviously have to take part in the reproductive cycle of a plant in order to produce their seeds, it would be absurd if we list lemons as vegetables.
The most basic difference between veggies and fruits is seeds and lemon, which is why it becomes a part of our fruit group.
The growth of veggies and fruits also is pretty different. Fruits are grown out of a flowering plant, and you would notice a fruit hanging right beside a flower.
That is because the flower is where germination happens, and fruits remain attached to it.
However, most of the time, vegetables do not grow near a flower because they are either stems, roots, or leaves of a plant, so their growth and placement are determined accordingly.
If you look at a lemon in a field, you would notice a white flower right beside the lemon, and that is because the growth of lemon is pretty similar to fruits and it remains attached to the flower for the most part until it is ripened and ready to fall off.
Most fruits tend to boost you a sugary boost because they have higher sugar levels and are low in fats and fiber. Fruits comparatively have a sweeter taste because of these sugar levels.
However, the majority of vegetables do not have sugar in them, and they are rich in fiber and low in fats. Just the veggies with a lot of starch in them have some sugars like potatoes, but other than that, sugar is only the specialty of fruits.
Lemon might taste very sour, but it has a unique tinge of sweetness, and the sugar level in lemon is also pretty high. It clearly answers the question of whether lemon is categorized as a fruit or vegetable.
Well, the obvious fact that makes lemon fruit and not a vegetable is that it is a hybrid of two fruits. Yes, you heard it right. Lemons are not naturally occurring fruits, but some people took two different fruits, joined them, and made lemons.
It gave birth to whole new fruit. Lemon is the result of combining a citron fruit and bitter oranges, which is why it has a bitter, tangy and sweet flavor in one.
We cannot really categorize lemons as vegetables because they were made after a cross between two fruits and not two vegetables. It is only fair to give the credit where it is due, so lemons indeed are fruits.
It might come as a shock to you, but yes, lemons are a type of berries. It is not because of their appearance but because of how they are made internally and how lemons have layers similar to that of berries.
But, when we think about berries, we would obviously think about cranberries or raspberries, but who would think of lemons? Probably no one because most people don’t even know that lemons are berries.
But there is a scientific explanation behind lemons being berries. Fleshy fruits like berries have bodies consisting of three parts:
- Outer part
- Middle flashy part
- Inner seedy part
Lemons also have these three layers, but they also have multiple seeds, which is also a requirement for being a berry. So, the selection criteria is pretty tough, but we are glad our lemons made it.
So, it is pretty apparent now that lemons are fruits and not just fruits, but also a kind of berries. All the evidence and explanations point toward lemons being fruits, so there is very small room for debate.
Gone are the days when lemons were only used in lemonades and juices. Now, people are using them in different recipes as the main ingredient, and trust us; they are actually worth it because of their strong flavor and great nutritional value.
So, we list some unique things you can make with lemons if you are bored. We have personally tried all these recipes and have totally loved them, so have at it:
- Lemon jam
- Lemon Ice Cream
- Lemon cake with lemon-flavored icing
- Feta cheese
- Lemon tart
- Lemon oil
Lemons are such a pleasant addition to our kitchens that most cuisines are incomplete without them. They are a must-have for most people, but it is also important to know that lemons are fruits or vegetables so that you can set their portions accordingly.
Veggies usually are free of portions, but fruits do have a portion, so people often wonder in which class they should list lemon.
But, we hope that things are clearer now about whether lemon is categorized as a fruit or vegetable and that lemon being a fruit was not that big of a shock for you.
Enjoy lemonade, and have a great day!