Is Cucumber A Fruit or A Vegetable

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Many people have wondered over the years – is cucumber a fruit or a vegetable? While the vegetable is delicious, regardless, it is important to finally have an answer.

Is Cucumber a Fruit or a Vegetable?

In the age-old question of whether cucumbers are fruits or vegetable, there isn’t a simple answer, as you need to look at the question from a number of perspectives, including from botanical, culinary, cultural, and horticultural angles.

Botanical

Botanically speaking, cucumbers are considered fruits, because they develop from a flower and contain seeds. So, by that definition, a cucumber is a fruit.

Culinary

In terms of how people commonly prepare and consume cucumber, it is treated as a vegetable. It is commonly included in salads, stir-frys, and other common recipes for vegetables, rather than for fruits. When it comes to the opinion of chefs around the world, cucumbers are vegetables.

Freshly sliced cucumber with the whole vegetable and a mint leaf on a wooden cutting board

Cucumbers are hydrating and low-calorie with plenty of nutritional value. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Horticultural

When discussing this from a horticultural perspective, fruits tend to grow from woody plants, while vegetables grow from herbaceous plants. Since cucumbers do grow from herbaceous plants, most horticulturists label them as a vegetable.

Cultural

Perhaps the most important perspective is that of how we culturally refer to and discuss cucumbers. While there are those who are sticklers for botany and loudly proclaim the fruity nature of cucumbers, the vast majority of the population thinks of, refers to, and uses cucumbers as vegetables.

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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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