Cucumbers are easily available, and widely cultivated. It is a plant which belongs to the gourd family. They can be dark green or light green in color on the outside, and can have stripes or round spherical bumps on their skin. However, on the inside they are white in color with many small seeds. There are many varieties of cucumbers. The English and Armenian varieties are used for making salads, while the lemon cucumbers are great for making pickles. They are very healthy fruits ... umm vegetables? Well, one easily becomes confused, because, though they are considered as vegetables, they are actually a fruit. Similarly, fruits like pumpkins, squash, tomato, green beans, bell peppers are also referred as vegetables. Here, are the reason that support the argument that cucumber is a fruit, and the reason why it is considered as a vegetable.
What are Fruits?
According to botany, a fruit is the ripened ovary together with seed of a flowering plant. Many species of fruits comprise the ripened ovary and surrounding tissues. Flowering plants use them as a means to propagate the seeds. In cuisine, when we are discussing fruit as food, the term is usually applied to those fruits, which are sweet, juicy and fleshy, like apples, watermelons, oranges, etc. Hence, many nuts, grains, or vegetables which botanically belong to the fruits category are not referred to as fruits. So, a single terminology cannot be used to define the enormous variety of fruits.
Reasons for Cucumber Being a Fruit
Cucumber comes from the gourd family, which include other fruits, like squash, and it also belongs to the same genus as the muskmelon. So, botanically speaking, the answer to the question "is cucumber a fruit?" is yes. In cucumbers, there are seeds present inside, with surrounding tissues.
What are Vegetables?
The term vegetables is a culinary term, which has no established scientific value and is somewhat arbitrary and subjective. All parts of the herbaceous plants are eaten as food by humans, whether a part or whole of the plant. For example, mushrooms, which belong to the biological kingdom of fungi, are commonly considered and used as a vegetable. As vegetable is not a botanical term, any edible part of the plant, whether it is leaves (spinach), stems (asparagus), roots (carrots), flowers (cauliflower), bulbs (garlic), seeds (peas), and the botanical fruits like tomatoes, squash, capsicums, etc., can be classified as such.
Reasons why Cucumbers are Considered as a Vegetable
Cucumbers are vegetables in the culinary sense. These are eaten raw and used to make salads. However, similar to tomatoes and squash, they are usually prepared and consumed as vegetables. Apart from being eaten raw, cucumbers are used to make many food preparations and pickle recipes.
They offer many health benefits. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C. It also consists of many other important nutrients, like folate, sulfur, potassium, etc. They contain around 96% of water and antioxidants. Eating cucumbers can prevent many disorders, like acidity, fever, blood pressure, etc. You can also use fresh and cool skin of cucumbers to treat sunburns.
So, when it comes to culinary sense, cucumbers are vegetables. But in botanical terms, they are classified as fruits. I hope the above facts cleared your doubt regarding whether cucumber is a fruit or a vegetable. No matter what cucumbers are, they provide many health benefits. So, consume them raw and add them to your salads to gain most of their health benefits.