Is a Potato a Fruit or Vegetable?

Potatoes are derived from the Spanish word patata. If you love potatoes as much as we do, you’ve probably wondered this question: Is a potato a fruit or vegetable? For years, scientists and researchers have been asking whether or not the potato should be classified as a fruit or vegetable.

After extensive research and experiments, we have determined that a potato is definitely a vegetable. It comes from an annual plant with roots edible for humans.

Let’s take a look at some of the arguments for and against the potato being considered a fruit or vegetable and see how well they stand up in light of scientific research and common sense!

Potatoes Are Commonly Considered Vegetables, Not Fruits

When you think of fruits, you probably think of sweet, edible items like apples and oranges. But did you know that technically, potatoes are not fruits? A fruit is defined as the edible reproductive part of a flowering plant.

And while potatoes come from plants (specifically, they grow underground on the roots of the plant), they produce seeds like other fruits.

So What Exactly Are Potatoes If They’re Not Fruits? 

Well, there’s some debate about this. Some argue that potatoes are vegetables because they grow underground rather than on the surface.

However, others say that since potato flesh is sweet when cooked, the food should be considered a fruit. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to food classification.

For example, bananas are botanically classified as fruits, but most people classify them as vegetables. Potatoes are classified by many as vegetables, but for those who want to eat healthily, the sweet flavor means it can also be considered a fruit!

The question remains — are potatoes a vegetable or fruit? The answer may depend on how you define these words as most people think of potatoes as vegetables.

They’re usually grouped with other savory items like carrots, onions, and celery. This is likely because potatoes don’t have a sweet taste. Rather than serving them as desserts, they are often served as part of the main dish.

In the botanical sense, they produce flowers that can be eaten (a type of modified berry). In fact, they bear many similarities to tomatoes and squash, which are considered fruits.

If you’re wondering how potatoes became classified as a vegetable in the first place, there’s an easy explanation for that, too.

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They were initially classified as a vegetable when it was thought that plants grew from seeds found in the ground (like peas) instead of seeds contained inside their fruit (like strawberries).

The idea of a vegetable has changed since then, but not enough to make potatoes any less delicious! Potatoes come in all shapes and colors, including red, yellow, russet, white, blue/purple, fingerling, and petite.—and all are perfect for a healthy meal.

What Is A Potato, Anyway?

Potatoes are starchy, tuberous plants, derived from Solanum tuberosum, a perennial nightshade. Potatoes are grown worldwide and are fourth in terms of food production after maize, wheat, and rice.

Though they’re often thought of as vegetables, potatoes are classified as starchy tubers. It means they’re more closely related to tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers than carrots, lettuce, and other common vegetables.

Unlike most fruits (such as apples), potatoes can’t be eaten raw. They are also high in potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. So while you might think of them as side dishes or toppings for your salad, it’s not entirely accurate.

If potatoes aren’t cooked properly before eating, they can give us symptoms like stomach cramps and diarrhea. We must cook them first to ensure they have all the nutrients we need.

But cooking isn’t enough: We need to scrub our spuds before boiling so that any dirt clinging to the skin doesn’t end up on our dinner plates.

Why Is It So Hard To Decide If A Potato Is A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

Though potatoes are technically classified as a starchy vegetable, they have more in common with fruits. Potatoes are the only vegetable that contains sugar (in the form of starch). And like fruits, potatoes contain seeds that can be used to grow new plants. So what’s the verdict?

Well, again, it depends on how you define fruit and vegetables.

If you’re going by botanical classification, then potatoes are definitely vegetables. But if you ask most people, they’ll tell you that potatoes are closer to being considered a fruit because of their sweet taste and ability to be turned into other types of food.

However, in the end, it doesn’t matter what you call them; whether boiled, mashed, baked, fried, or roasted — they’re always delicious!

How Do Potatoes Grow?

Potatoes grow in the ground, and they need warm weather to thrive. They grow best in loose and well-drained soil, so make sure to keep them hydrated. When the potato plants are about six weeks old, their flowers will begin to appear.

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The flowers are usually white or purple, and they will turn into tiny green fruits. Each fruit will contain several small potatoes. Once the plant has died, you can dig up these small potatoes and eat them immediately (or store them for later).

After You Grow Them, How Can You Cook Them?

To prepare potatoes for cooking, scrub off any dirt with a stiff brush before peeling off their skins. Then cut them into slices, cubes, wedges, fries, or whatever shape you want.

If you’re boiling your potatoes instead of baking them or frying them, put salt on the fleshy part before cooking, so it doesn’t become too bland. Try boiling new potatoes without peeling first for those who want less starch in their diet.

New potatoes don’t need much preparation because they’re already tender. Just boil them until tender, then season, as desired, with butter, cheese sauce, pepper, chives, or herbs.

You’ll save yourself the work of scrubbing and peeling, but you’ll still get all the benefits from this healthy food. And if you have leftovers, feel free to make them into a classic comfort dish: mashed potatoes.

Why Are Potatoes So Healthy For You?

Potatoes offer many health benefits without the added risk factors from other fruits or vegetables (think: fructose from sugars). Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. As well as being low in calories and fat, they make them a great addition to any diet.

If you have been thinking about incorporating some new foods into your diet but aren’t sure where to start — look no further than our favorite tuber: the potato! Loaded with potassium, vitamin C, B6, iron, and magnesium — the humble spud has something for everyone.

Even though potatoes are often lumped in with other vegetables, they belong to the nightshade family of plants, which also includes tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants.

Though they are sometimes classified as starchy vegetables, potatoes are not exceptionally high in starch compared to other nightshade family members.

The potatoes can also be cooked into healthy dishes such as mashed potatoes and potato soup. Potatoes can provide your body with many essential nutrients, so don’t forget to include them in your diet!

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Can I Grow Potatoes At Home Myself?

If you want to grow your potatoes at home, you don’t have to be a proponent of either side. Just make sure you’re planting them in loose soil so their roots can expand freely (they need plenty of room). Plant them around 6 inches deep and about 4 inches apart.

Give the plants an inch or two of water per week to keep them healthy, but don’t overwater them because excess moisture will cause them to rot faster.

When harvesting time comes around, leave some potatoes behind for next year’s crop. Once harvested, remove the skin by rubbing off all dirt before cooking. It will help replenish nutrients for next season’s crop.

What Do They Taste Like?

Most potatoes have a starchy, earthy flavor with a slightly nutty finish. Depending on the variety, they can also taste like chestnuts, nuts, or even butter. Some potatoes can be pretty sweet, while others are more savory. The type you get will determine what you get.

A popular potato dish is boiled potatoes, peeled and then boiled in water until they’re soft and tender before being eaten. They may also be cooked by immersion in boiling water (potato cooking). Potatoes can also be baked, microwaved, steamed, sauteed, stir-fried, or mashed. 

Final Thoughts

To sum up our discussion about whether a potato is a fruit or vegetables, it can be said that potatoes are vegetables. They are a great source of nutrients, so whether you consider them a fruit or vegetable, be sure to add them to your diet!

Also, regardless of their classification, potatoes are considered one of nature’s most perfect foods because they provide both minerals and vitamins in good proportions.

FAQs

How to Roast Potatoes

Roasting potatoes is a delicious and simple way to prepare them:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Slice your potatoes into thin wedges after washing them.
  3. Toss the potatoes with olive oil and sea salt.
  4. Place the potatoes on parchment paper-lined baking sheets and roast for 20-25 minutes.

What is Potato Soup?

Potato soup is a type of soup that typically contains potatoes, broth, and milk. Other ingredients can be added to the dish, such as onions, celery, carrots, cheese, and bacon. This soup is hearty and filling, making a delicious meal for cold winter evenings.