Are Potatoes Vegetables

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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When sitting down for dinner, some people likely ask themselves – are potatoes vegetables? – and while the answer may seem obvious, the details are surprising!

Are Potatoes Vegetables or Fruits?

There is no real argument for potatoes being classified as fruits since fruits are the seed-bearing structures that develop from ovaries of the plant. Potatoes are tubers and don’t contain any seeds, so it is easy to eliminate fruit as an option. Most people consider potatoes a vegetable, and botanically speaking, that would be correct. Potatoes are an edible plant part, namely the starchy tuber that grows beneath the ground.

However, that starchy nature of potatoes is why some experts classify potatoes as a form of starch. In many meals, potatoes do fill the role of starchy foods, such as rice, bread or pasta. Potatoes are also very high in carbohydrates, more so that many common vegetables. Thus, it can be said that potatoes are technically vegetables, but nutritionally speaking, they are more closely related to other starches, both in nutritional value and function in recipes.

A couple of potatoes in a metal basket

Potatoes are healthy for you if you eat them boiled and not fried. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Are Potatoes Root or Stem Vegetables

Although potatoes grow underground, they cannot be classified as root vegetables; basically, the food you eat is not the root itself, but a tuber that grows from a series of stems. As a stem vegetable, potatoes grow on stems called stolons and are actually defined as modified stems, referred to as the tuber. While they can be eaten like other root vegetables, potatoes are technically classified as something different!

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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