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Is A Pickle A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

Quick Answer: Is A Pickle A Fruit Or A Vegetable? A pickle is considered both a fruit and a vegetable and sometimes, even, a berry!

I bet you thought that this question would be easy to find a straightforward answer to! It’s not very often you’re given the task of designated googler when the thing you’re googling is a yes/no question.

Or, at least, that’s what it seems. Is a pickle a fruit or a vegetable might sound like a simple question, but the pickle doesn’t fit solely into one of these categories. Read on to wrap your head around this one.

Quick Answer: Is A Pickle A Fruit Or A Vegetable?

What Are Pickles? 

Pickles are made from cucumbers which are pickled. They are out through the pickling process where they are placed in a jar with brine. Brine is made up of a mixture of vinegar, water and some spices.

These cucumbers are left in the jar for at least a month, during which time the cucumbers ferment and become pickles. 

Pickles have lots of different textures and tastes which are controlled by the length of time you leave them to ferment, and the brine and spices that you used in the jar. 

Due to this process, a pickle is seen as both a fruit and a vegetable.

Cucumbers are a vegetable and pickles are made from cucumbers and because of this, pickles are considered a vegetable.

However, the cucumbers, and in turn, the pickles contain seeds which is a characteristic of fruits. For these reasons, pickles are both a fruit and a vegetable.

Technically speaking, pickles also fall into the berry category as well as the fruit and vegetable ones.

This is because cucumbers actually grow from a blossom and they don’t contain a put but they do contain seeds. These are the characteristics of a berry. 

That is the technical answer to that question, however, there is also the question of what people consider them socially.

While there is some crossover, most people would consider a cucumber and a pickle a vegetable.

This is very important to note, because there is a huge difference between the culinary classification – which is the way in which we use the fruit or vegetable in our food, and the botanical definition which is the way in which they grow. 

Historical Importance Of Pickles

Pickling is believed to be one the first methods of food preservation that was used.

It has also been the longest running method, as it is still very commonly used today.

It is thought to have begun as a way of preserving fruits and vegetables through oxygen-free fermentation in Mesopotamia. The approximate date is 2400 BCE. 

Pickles have been a stable part of our diet for many, many years as a delicious snack alongside a lot of our favorite meals.

However, the reason that pickles shot to fame wasn’t because of the way they taste in your burger.

When all our goods were transported by boat, and men were at sea for weeks and months at a time, eating pickled fruits and vegetables was a true lifesaver.

They were a great source of vitamins for the otherwise vitamin deprived seamen who would have suffered from scurvy if they hadn’t had their delicious pickled snacks on board the ship.

How Does Pickling Work?

When you place the fruit or vegetable in the jar alongside the brine or vinegar, the pH level in the fruit or vegetable falls to below 4.6. This is quite acidic and will, therefore, kill off a lot of bacteria. It is not too acidic to ruin the taste, however. 

It is not just cucumbers that you can preserve in this way, but when it is done to other vegetables, it is usually referred to as a picked version of that vegetable. For instance, if you pickle an onion, it is called a pickled onion.

In the United States, if you hear pickles on their own, this usually refers to a pickled cucumber.

However, this is not the same everywhere. In some other places, they often serve a variety of pickled vegetables, fruits, fish or meats.

All cucumbers that go through the pickling process are pickled, but not all pickles are made from cucumbers.

In places like the United Kingdom, what we refer to as pickles is known as a gherkin, and all other pickled vegetables and fruits are known as pickles.

Why Pickles Are Considered Vegetables?

Why Pickles Are Considered Vegetables

In 1893 there was a legal case declared in the Supreme Court in America which aimed to sue the Port of New York to claim back the taxes that they had previously paid.

John Nix was the leader of this lawsuit and the existence of the lawsuit meant that pickles and cucumbers were placed under the vegetable bracket.

The case of Nix and Hedden saw the entire judicial system come together in 1893 to decide whether we should class tomatoes as vegetables or as fruits.

This lawsuit came about because of a tax that was placed in 1883 on any imported vegetables.

President Arthur signed this tax agreement, known as the Tariff Act and John Nix decided to fight the decision by filing a suit against the Port Of York which returned the taxes that they had paid on the tomatoes because, as Nix claimed, tomatoes are technically a fruit.

While they tried to argue this case, the botanists claimed that the tomato was a fruit because the fruit is born of a plant that bears seeds and has flowers. 

There were also arguments from the culinary side of things, which took the approach that you should classify them based on the way in which we use them.

Although they had had such a good attendance in court, the court ruled that the botanical definition of the fruits and vegetables is very specialized and, because of this, wouldn’t be common knowledge to the average Joe. 

While it was definitely worth a try, all the justices ruled in favor of the Tax Collector of the Port and the taxes had to continue to be paid.

Culinary And Nutrition

We have already covered the culinary category. This refers to categorizing the fruits and vegetables through the ways in which they are used in food.

Nutritional categorization is similar to this in some ways, but not completely. Nutritionists believe that fruits are filled with sugars that are naturally occurring, while vegetables are not. 

The Developing Use Of Pickles 

Over the years, our food tastes and preferences have changed a lot.

This is because of many different factors including technological advancements, cultural exchanges and trade and new inventions.

The pickled cucumber leads the way for many different pickled goods.

You can now buy pickle cupcakes, pickle ice creams and pickle tarts. There are pickles in so many different foods, including your ham and pineapple pizzas. 

As the use of the pickle has developed, and the way that we consume fruits and vegetables has changed, the Supreme Court ruling should be reassessed and the nutritionists should be knocked off their position.

Fun Facts 

Pickles are a great part of America and they are truly loved by the nation.

On average, each individual in America consumes 9 pounds per year of pickles.

It is no wonder that pickles are such a big part of American culture when Amerigo Vespicci, a pickle merchant, was the person that America was named after. 

Pickles are not just a big part of the culture on land, they were also prevalent off land.

When Christopher Columbus set sale, his ships were all well stocked with pickles that contained lots of vitamin C.

This prevented the seamen from developing very serious illnesses, such as scurvy. 

The birth of International Pickle Week was in 1948. It was deemed by the Pickle Packers International.

This week was introduced to honor the significance of the food and to mark the key week for planting the cucumbers.

This is usually best when it is done in the middle of May.

No Categorization 

There are some people who argue that because a pickle is man made and altered by its interaction with the world, it can no longer classify as a fruit or a vegetable.

This is because it is not found in nature. This is not a common belief. When you pickle an egg, it doesn’t cease to be an egg, so this is a very reductionist view.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is A Pickle A Vegetable Or A Fruit?

This depends on how you wish to categorize it. According to botanists, a cucumber is a vegetable, fruit and berry. 

To a chef, the pickle is easily categorized as a vegetable because the pickles are made from cucumbers which are categorized as a vegetable.

This question is not as straightforward as it should be, as the opinions on it differ so greatly depending on where, who and when they ask the question. 

Are Pickles One Of Your Servings Of Fruit And Veg?

In the United States, we have a recommended daily intake of 4-5 servings of fruit and vegetables.

Pickles count as one of these servings. Just ensure that the portion is big enough.

They have the same amount of goodness in them that the same serving of cucumber would have. In the US, half a cup counts as one of your servings. This is the equivalent to about 75 grams. 

Is Mango Pickle A Fruit Or Vegetable?

Mango pickle which is commonly used as a condiment to Indian food is made from the mango fruit, making it a fruit.

If you pickle ginger, it is a vegetable. Pickled peppers are both culinary vegetables and botanical fruits.

Jess Smith