Many people wonder if the bell pepper is a fruit or a vegetable. It is mainly necessary to differentiate between two cases. On the one hand, the pepper can be made from a nutritional point of view or from a culinary point of view. Analyzing the pepper from each of these points, you can draw conclusions and reflections about whether the pepper is a fruit or an adventure.
For this reason, we are going to dedicate this article to telling you if the pepper is a fruit or a vegetable, what its characteristics are and some reflections on the matter.
Characteristics of the pepper
Bell peppers come in many colors, sizes, and shapes. It can be red, green, yellow, black, or orange, with shades of blue, purple, or brown in individual cases. Its scientific name is Capsicum annuum, and there are other names such as paprika, sweet pepper, chili, bell pepper, chiltoma, locote, cuchucha, ajicito, and locote, among others, depending on the country in which it is consumed or grown.
Peppers are part of the Capsicum variety, one of the most widely distributed, well-known and cultivated varieties in the world. It belongs to the Solanaceae family and comes from Central America, which includes the territories of Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, Costa Rica and Nicaraguawhere it was cultivated about 6.000 years ago and from where it was transferred to other countries. Today, China and Europe seem to be the largest producing regions.
The fruits of bell peppers are large, hollow berries. They consist of 2 or 3 carpels, separated by incomplete septa, creating an internal cavity to house flat and round seeds. Its height is between 80 and 100 cm. Its adventitious roots can reach 1 m in length. Deciduous, branched stems, petiolate and ovate leaves, 4 to 12 cm high and 1,5 to 4 cm wide. They have a narrow base, an entire rim, and a slightly pointed tip.
Pepper flowers are usually solitary, although in some cases they can form very limited groups. They can be pendent or erect and sprout between the axils of the leaves and the stem. The calyx is open, persistent, entire, composed of 5 to 7 rounded ribs, terminally toothed, and some secondary ribs. The corolla is small, only 1 cm, with about 5 or 7 petals. It is white, while the anthers are usually purple.
The flowering of peppers occurs between May and August, and fruiting occurs between July and November. It is a self-pollinating species. Green bell peppers change color as they ripen, “coloring” orange, yellow, and red. At this stage, its sweetness or spiciness will increase, depending on the variety, as well as its vitamin C and beta-carotene content.
Is bell pepper a fruit or vegetable? botanical point of view
Looking at peppers from a botanical taxonomy, we realize that to determine what a fruit or vegetable is, we must consider aspects of the plant’s structure, organization, and function. So, fruit is considered to be all the substances produced in the fruit and developed in the ovary of the plant or flower.
From a botanical point of view, a fruit consists of at least one seed that can develop into a flower. When it comes to bell peppers, they are classified as a fruit because they contain a series of tiny seeds that bloom over time.
Vegetables, on the other hand, do not have a clear definition, but are better known as the elements that can be eaten whole: body, leaves, stems and others. If we think as a botanist, peppers can be classified as a fruit.
Is bell pepper a fruit or vegetable? culinary point of view
When we look at it from a culinary perspective, from the perspective of nutritionists, chefs and even our grandmothers, we think of fruits and vegetables as slightly different because they are based on their shape and governed by their flavor profile.
When cooked, vegetables are generally firmer in texture and milder in flavor, and must be cooked to extract the flavor, such as in soups, stir-fries, or stews. On the other hand, the fruits have a softer texture but are more acidic or sweet, so they can be used in desserts, jams or raw.
The peppers come in an option that can be refreshing and crunchy, so they can be eaten raw. Even so, with it you can make different dishes, so much so that they are a must for flavor lovers, classifying them as vegetables.
There are different points of view when judging whether a pepper is a fruit or a vegetable. Finally, how do we classify peppers after understanding the two views? While both definitions are fine, it’s good that we dig a little deeper. On the one hand, botanical taxonomy determines where peppers are grown based on the different varieties of peppers, as well as knowledge about the types of cultivation and harvesting of the same.
For the general public, the culinary definition may be a bit more complete because, as nutritionists and chefs point out, foods that belong to the same family in botanicals do not necessarily have the same ingredients in the field of nutrition. Like the watermelon family, supplemented by pumpkin, melon, etc., but there are many differences between them.
Peppers are fruits and vegetables
All in all, bell peppers can be easily divided into two categories. We come to this conclusion because they are often found in many types of dishes as vegetables, but It is very versatile as a fruit because we can eat it raw and it also contains seeds.
However, it’s worth mentioning that this shouldn’t cause controversy around this meal, bell peppers are still delicious! We can all agree that they are a versatile food and their family is complemented by a range of elements that we can use in many ways. As you can see, the pepper can be a fruit, vegetable depending on the point of view from which it is analyzed.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about whether the pepper is a fruit or a vegetable.