Is Cactus a Vegetable or Fruit?
Cacti are succulent plants native to the Americas, but they are grown all over the world today. Despite their uncanny resemblance to vegetables, the truth is that cacti are actually fruits.
The distinction between fruits and vegetables can be confusing for some, as the two are often used interchangeably in everyday language. Fruits are foods that develop from the ovaries of flowering plants. They are typically sweet and have a fleshy texture. On the other hand, vegetables are generally savoury and are usually the edible portion of the plant, such as leaves, stems or roots.
Cacti are often confused with vegetables due to their green, fleshy appearance. However, it’s important to note that cacti have no leaves or stems — it’s just an outer skin of spines and thorns. The interior of the cactus is where all the important features are located. Inside, the plant has flowers and fleshy fruits, which are eventually filled with seeds. This makes cacti more similar to fruits than vegetables.
Types of Cacti Fruits
There are many different types of cactus fruits, but some of the most popular include:
- Prickly Pear: Also known as the nopales, the prickly pear is a type of cactus that produces edible fruits. It has a sweet, tangy and sour flavour and can be eaten raw or cooked.
- Barrel Cactus: The barrel cactus is another common type of cactus that produces edible fruits. Their flavour is often compared to that of a watermelon, with a slightly sweet and tart taste.
- Moon Cactus: The moon cactus is a type of cactus that produces small, red fruits. They have a sweet, melon-like taste and are often used to make jams and jellies.
All in all, cacti are a type of fruit and not a vegetable. Despite their vegetable-like features, cacti have flowers and fruits inside, which makes them closer to fruits than vegetables. Many types of cacti produce edible and tasty fruits, and they are becoming increasingly popular around the world.