Are Olives Fruits Or Vegetables

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Many people wonder – are olives fruits, vegetables or nuts? – but the answer isn’t as clear as you might expect.

Are Olives Fruits, Vegetables or Nuts?

  • Fruit: Botanically speaking, a fruit is the seed-bearing organ of a plant, which usually develops from the ovary or flower. Olives have a hard pit or stone, which contains the seed for future olive trees, making these salty snacks a fruit in the eyes of science. More specifically, olives are considered drupes, or stone fruits, and are scientifically known as indehiscent fruits.

  • Vegetable: That being said, a vegetable is technically any edible part of a plant, so it is understandable why some people get confused and assume that olives are vegetables. Remember that all fruits are considered vegetables, but not all vegetables are considered fruits.
  • Nut: Nuts are defined as a type of fruit, but they are characterized in the opposite way to olives. Whereas olives consist of a thin epicarp and a fleshy mesocarp surrounding a hard inedible endocarp (the stone), a nut is precisely the opposite. A nut is a fruit that has a hard outer shell protecting an edible seed. So, similar to vegetables, while all nuts are considered fruits, not all fruits (like olives) are considered nuts!
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