They’re green and they’re amazing in salad, but does that mean avocados are vegetables?
The Short Answer:
No, Avocados are technically fruits.
The Long Answer:
Oh, avocados. They’re very much an “in” food and have been for quite some time now. Because of their green coloring and savory nature, most people assume that an avocado is just another green vegetable, much like a cucumber or zucchini.
It’s not, though.
You may be shocked to discover that avocados are technically fruits. Not only are they fruits, but they’re a single-seeded berry.
I know, you’re probably confused because recently we broke the news to you all that cherries are not berries. They’re actually drupes, which are fruits that surround a single seed or pit. Sounds like an avocado, right?
This is one of those rare exceptions to the rule. So, a berry is a fleshy fruit that comes from the single fertilized ovary of a single flower. It consists of three main components. There’s the exocarp (skin) mesocarp (flesh) and endocarp (interior). The endocarp is the main differentiator here. It is the part of the berry that surrounds the seeds. Usually, berries have more than one seed, but avocados are clearly different.
A drupe also consists of an endocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp. However, the endocarp of a drupe is tough or bony and usually adheres to the single pit. An avocado’s endocarp is soft and surrounds the pit, as one would normally see in any berry.
The endocarp of an avocado is thin and often imperceptible at first glance, but it is absolutely there. So in this situation, the makeup of the endocarp trumps the number of seeds in terms of importance to this fruit’s classification.
Add avocados to the list of berries you had no idea were berries. The list is actually quite extensive, featuring some common fruits like bananas and watermelons. That’s not all, though. Some of the berries you commonly think of like strawberries and raspberries aren’t actually berries at all.
Is your favorite berry not actually a berry? Do you love avocados? Do you now consider guacamole a fruit dip? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!