We all know
the is-a-tomato-a-fruit debate
the answer is yes,
but you still shouldn’t put it in a fruit salad.
Now we’d like to bring you a whole new botanical question
you never knew you had.
Is corn a fruit or a vegetable? or is it a grain?
The answer is complicated.
It has to do with the way foods are categorized and defined.
We differentiate between fruits and vegetables
based on the parts of the plant we eat.
If we ingest the part derived from the ovaries or other reproductive tissue,
we call it a fruit.
Everything else we call a vegetable.
Going strictly by that definition alone, corn is a fruit.
Hear me out, this isn’t that crazy.
A single corn stalk grows several ears,
which are the female bits of the plant,
and it has one pollen-producing tassel up top, which is the male part.
Before those corn cobs look anything like what we eat,
they’re essentially hard cylinders
covered in hundreds of unfertilized ovules.
Each of these ovules grows a single silk,
which reaches up and out of the top of the husk.
If you’ve ever shucked an ear of corn,
those corn hairs are the silks.
These sticky hairs dangle
in the hopes of catching a bit of pollen
if they do, the silk grows a pollen tube,
enabling the male genes to travel towards the ovule and fertilize it.
That fertilized ovule will grow into a single kernel.
Once that happens 400-600 more times,
you’ve got an ear of corn.
Here’s the thing though.
For most fruits, you eat the fleshy bit,
but not the seeds
like snacking on an apple or a pear.
[takes bite of apple]
But corn is a special type of fruit called a caryopsis.
Caryopses are fruits where the flesh and seed pods are fused tightly,
so they dry out more easily.
You might be more familiar with other varieties
like wheat, millet, or oats.
That’s right, caryopses are also grains.
So now that we know
corn is both a fruit and grain,
that brings us to our final question:
is corn a vegetable too?
Scientifically and botanically,
the answer is no.
But there’s still a case that you could make for it.
“Vegetable” has become somewhat of an arbitrary term in modern language,
due to its catchall nature.
Fruit is something that you can pick up and eat immediately.
Anything that’s not a fruit is labeled a vegetable.
And we have a few preconceptions about veggies.
They’re hard until they’re cooked and they aren’t sweet or juicy.
煮熟之前 它们是硬的 不甜也不多汁
But fruits can have those same characteristics too.
Pumpkins, peas, and peppers are all technically fruits,
南瓜 豌豆和辣椒 严格来说都是水果
but they’re treated as and called vegetables by most people.
There’s a decent, albeit philosophical, argument to be made
that we should go by the definition that most people use.
But in the end, the categories you assign to corn are up to you.
It turns out there’s a kernel of truth to them all.
We all know