Whether friend love lock or desire to eradicate them from the Earth, you"ll probably see green beans on your Thanksgiving table this year.

You are watching: Are green beans a fruit or a vegetable

And due to the fact that you can"t prevent them, you may also impress your loved ones with this funny bean fact: the eco-friendly bean is actually not a vegetable, but a fruit.

At the very least to a botanist, anyway.


"Fruits room structures that contain seeds," Toby Adams, director of the Edible Academy in ~ the brand-new York factory Garden, claimed in an interview. "And a environment-friendly bean is, basically, a pod that has seeds inside of it."

Adams explained that the environment-friendly bean is a "dry fruit," which method that once it"s completely developed, the pod will certainly dry out and crack open up to disclose a tires seed. Climate -- finger crossed -- the seed will get in the earth, eventually germinating and also growing more green beans. In fact, this is pretty much why the pod exists: to administer a vehicle for the seed"s dissemination.

The environment-friendly beans us stir-fry and also put into casseroles, though? Those are fruits that were picked immature, v the seed still sitting within the pod. "But if you were in the garden and also you ... Allow those fruits totally develop," Adams said, "the pod would eventually dry out."


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My dudes.Credit: Shutterstock/azure

Then, you"d be left with a "shelf-stable" dried bean, freed that its papery pod and also ready to be sold in mass bins. However it"s unlikely that you"ll uncover mature green beans in mass bins. Instead, they are made shelf-stable v canning.

The environment-friendly beans us eat room immature, through the seed still sitting inside the pod.

So beans are fruit. Cool, right? however what if, in ~ the Thanksgiving table, your smartass cousin insists the the eco-friendly bean can"t it is in a fruit since it"s a legume?

Please allow them understand that it"s both. The legume, in fact, is a kind of dried fruit.

What, then, explains the pervasive myth that eco-friendly beans room vegetables? Well, the ax is all blended up! In fact, the term "vegetable" isn"t really provided by botanists in ~ all. Instead, it"s used by grocers and also others in the food industry, usually to identify develop that"s savory or supplied in savory recipes. (Culinary "fruits," by contrast, are regularly sweet or provided in sweet recipes.)

This weird nebulous distinction has also had legitimate ramifications. In 1893, a fruit importer suggested before the can be fried Court that tomatoes must be classified as fruits, not as vegetables as the port Authority of brand-new York had decreed. (The importer hoped to stop the 10% tax imposed on imported vegetables at the time.)


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To-may-to, to-mah-to; fruit, vegetable.Credit: Shutterstock/David Orcea

Now, tomatoes are fruits, botanically speaking. (In fact, they"re berries!) yet in this case, the can be fried Court chose that tomatoes to be still vegetables in a culinary feeling -- mostly since the state "fruit" and also "vegetable" didn"t have stable definitions in the people of commerce.

From the decision:

Botanically speaking, tomatoes room the fruit the a vine, simply as space cucumbers, squashes, beans, and peas. But in the common language of the people, whether sellers or consumer of provisions, every these room vegetables which space grown in kitchen gardens, and which, whether consumed cooked or raw, are, choose potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, celery, and also lettuce, usually served at dinner in, with, or after ~ the soup, fish, or meat which constitute the principal component of the repast, and not, prefer fruits generally, as dessert.

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This perspective prevails today. Tomatoes room still widely believed of as vegetables, regardless of being the poster children of the "actually, it"s a fruit" mini-movement. Exact same with zucchini, peppers, avocados and, the course, beans. The tariff in inquiry is long gone, yet the court case, Nix vs. Hedden, is quiet upheld this particular day -- and has, as company Insider clues out, influenced numerous other situations involving taxation, classification, and also the "common language" human being use come refer to certain goods and services.

But you, reader, have actually received your botanist awakening, and also now you"re the wiser. When you collection your flawless eco-friendly bean dish on the Thanksgiving table this year, you can say confidently to her sure-to-be-impressed family: "Who wants pod-and-seed casserole?"