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!