What is a Potato, a Fruit or a Vegetable?
The potato is an enigmatic food item that leads to confusion when it comes to categorizing it as either a fruit or a vegetable. Botanically speaking, it is neither a fruit nor a vegetable, but simply a starchy tuber. It can be classified as a type of root vegetable.
The potato is a tuber
The potato is classified as a starchy tuber. A starchy tuber is a vegetable grown underground and is edible such as the potato and the yam. Starchy tubers are employed for various purposes including nutrition and cooking.
As mentioned previously, botanically speaking, the potato is neither a fruit nor a vegetable. This is because a fruit is defined as a part of the flower, represented by the ovary that contains the seeds and is the sweet edible portion of the plant. Vegetables are considered parts of the plant that are consumed as food but don’t produce seeds.
Tubers vs root vegetables
Tubers are classified differently from root vegetables in that they are modified stems or enlarged underground storage organs that develop from the stem. They usually contain carbohydrates such as starch, in the potato’s case. Whereas root vegetables refer to edible veggies that grow under the soil such as carrots, radishes, turnips, parsnips, and beets.
In conclusion, though we refer to potatoes as vegetables, botanically speaking, they are classified as starchy tubers. Tubers, when compared to root vegetables, have the capacity to store carbohydrates such as starch. Also, tubers are modified stems as opposed to root vegetables, which are defined as its edible parts of the plant that grow under the soil.