I knew that a tomato is technically (or botanically) a fruit, but I didn’t know that cucumbers and pumpkins are also fruit. But as the experts point out, try telling that to a five-year old. We live in a linguistic democracy where the majority rules!
And technically (or botanically) a tomato is a berry, as also are avocados, watermelons, pumpkins, bananas and citrus fruit. And so that you won’t show your ignorance, know that raspberries aren’t berries, nor are strawberries. They are aggregate fruit, so please be more precise.
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in fruit salad, and psychology is wondering if that makes ketchup a smoothie. Just imagine eating a salad of tomato, cucumber and pumpkin topped with ice-cream!
And in case you didn’t know, a Brazil nut is not a nut but a seed, and a walnut is a drupe, as also are peaches, cherries, apricots, mangoes and olives. I looked up the definition of a drupe but it contained so many words that required further dictionary searches I suggest you look it up yourself. (I included the definition at the end of this article to save you the trouble.) But just imagine going into a fruit shop and asking if they have any ripe drupes. If they look at you with blank stares, just ask whether or not you are pronouncing the word correctly. Or perhaps they might say: “We have a lettuce with wilting leaves! Is that a droop?”
Try giving your partner a shopping list to show him who’s clever. It should read:
1 kilo of drupes – the clingstone variety;
2 tropical drupes – the ones with the big seeds;
1 punnet of aggregate fruit – the red ones.
The greengrocer will probably think your partner is the one being funny.
Note: From Webster’s Dictionary a drupe is a fruit consisting of a pulpy, coriaceous, or fibrous exocarp without valves and a hard woody or bony endocarp (the stone) inclosing a single seed. The exocarp is succulent in the plum, cherry, apricot, peach etc., and dry and subcoriaceous in the almond. While a true drupe is always monocarpellary, a compound pistil may produce a multiple fruit (as in the raspberry and blackberry), each grain of which is a drupelet.
Now you know everything too!
Rev. Alan Stuart Ex missionary to Korea, Retired Minister, UCA
(02) 8876 1870